Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories
Tobias Wolff
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Buy *Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories* by Tobias Wolff online

Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories
Tobias Wolff
400 pages
March 2008
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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When Wolff finds the sweet spot, the illuminated center, bells ring and lights blaze. His prose washes over the page in creating sweet and mysterious characters. In this latest anthology, the author has combined stories written 30 years ago alongside pieces just recently written.

His characters are everyday people - liars, students, soldiers, and brothers - all toiling in a difficult world, looking for answers, and trying to make the right decisions. Typically, they do. In "The Rich Brother," the more successful sibling is forever looking after his younger brother. The younger brother is forever making wrong choices and the older brother is continually bailing him out of situations. Here, in the story's final paragraph, this older brothers comes to a final decision:

"And in this way, smiling, nodding to the music, he went another mile or two and pretended that he was not already slowing down, that he wouldn't burn back, that he would be able to drive on like this, alone, and have the right answer when his wife stood beofre him in the doorway of his home and asked, Where is he? Where is your brother?"
Ultimately, the people in these stories do the right thing, though it's not always their first choice and usually a very difficult one. Wolff loves to confuse and confound his characters, but he identifies with them and always gives them the tools to cope.

All of the writer's short stories center on the morally right decision, a sort of modern-day Somerset Maugham. This is a terrific collection.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Steven Rosen, 2008

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