Greater Capital Region Teacher Center
|Lee K. Abbott|
photo credit: NYS Writers Institute
|Masters of the Short Story|
February 21, 2001
8:00 Joint Reading
Recital Hall, PAC
4:00 Joint Seminar, HU 354
photo credit: Nancy Crampton
Lee K. Abbott is the author of six short story collections populated by "street-smart smartasses: overeducated and underemployed men mourning for the confident women who have left them" Bob Shacochis calls Abbott, "a significant writer, one of our culture's more compelling stylists, an acrobat of the word."
Abbott's more recent collections include Living After Midnight (1991) and Wet Places at Noon (1997). The Washington Post Book World said that Living After Midnight "is dominated by male characters who speak in a nervous cant and seem poised on the edge of spiritual bankruptcy. These men, more often than not, driven to infidelity, estranging them from their families and their jobs. . .Abbott's prose burns into the reader's senses with a sense of reckless confidence." Kirkus Reviews said that Wet Places at Noon, is composed of "...salty exuberant tales of modern men struggling to make sense of their lives. . .Fiction with a vigor, intelligence and rueful wit sorely lacking from work of many of Abbott's contemporaries.
Frederick Busch is the author of 24 books--seven short story collections among them. The Dictionary of Literary Biography says that Busch is "a distinguished master of the short story in late-twentieeth-century America, adding to the vitality of that literary form with his powerful, morally penetrating short stories," and calls him, "an artist who counts, a writer who matters to the cultural health of the nation."
Busch's most recent collection is Don't Tell Anyone (2000), which emphasizes the fragility of American marriage and family life. In one story, a boy suffers with the knowledge that his mother is having an affair with his employer. In another, a man lingers over the memory of the single sudden moment when his marriage ended. Publishers Weekly said of the book, "Because his writing is masterly and his perceptions dazzling and true, it's exhilarating to encounter each of the 16 stories and one novella in Busch's new collection."