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Anti-Story: An Anthology of Experimental Fiction

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Contents: Life story by John Barth The seventh trunk by Heinrich Böll How I contemplated the world from the Detroit House of Correction and began my life over again by Joyce Carol Oates The coal shoveller by Keith Fort Pierre Menard, author of Don Quixote by Jorge Luis Borges Gogol's wife by Tomasso Landolfi The rhinoceros by Eugène Ionesco A world ends by Wolfgang Hildesheimer Las Contents: Life story by John Barth The seventh trunk by Heinrich Böll How I contemplated the world from the Detroit House of Correction and began my life over again by Joyce Carol Oates The coal shoveller by Keith Fort Pierre Menard, author of Don Quixote by Jorge Luis Borges Gogol's wife by Tomasso Landolfi The rhinoceros by Eugène Ionesco A world ends by Wolfgang Hildesheimer Last class by Theodore Roethke You can't cover up the sky with your hand by Oscar Lewis Motherlogue by Ann Quin In the heart of the heart of the country by William Gass Blow-up by Julio Cortazar A view from the sky by Curtis Zahn The squirrel cage by Thomas Disch The pukey by Nigel Dennis The locust cry by Norman Mailer In a hole by George P. Elliott A pedestrian accident by Robert Coover Tropism XV by Nathalie Sarraute In the corridors of the underground : the escalator by Alain Robbe-Grillet Welcome to Utah by Michel Butor The man in pyjamas by Eugenio Montale The self-contained compartment by Michael Goldstein Game by Donald Barthelme A mean teacher by Mitchell Sisskind Games VI by Reinhard Lettau Father, father, what have you done? by Russell Edson Taboo by Enrique Anderson Imbert


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Contents: Life story by John Barth The seventh trunk by Heinrich Böll How I contemplated the world from the Detroit House of Correction and began my life over again by Joyce Carol Oates The coal shoveller by Keith Fort Pierre Menard, author of Don Quixote by Jorge Luis Borges Gogol's wife by Tomasso Landolfi The rhinoceros by Eugène Ionesco A world ends by Wolfgang Hildesheimer Las Contents: Life story by John Barth The seventh trunk by Heinrich Böll How I contemplated the world from the Detroit House of Correction and began my life over again by Joyce Carol Oates The coal shoveller by Keith Fort Pierre Menard, author of Don Quixote by Jorge Luis Borges Gogol's wife by Tomasso Landolfi The rhinoceros by Eugène Ionesco A world ends by Wolfgang Hildesheimer Last class by Theodore Roethke You can't cover up the sky with your hand by Oscar Lewis Motherlogue by Ann Quin In the heart of the heart of the country by William Gass Blow-up by Julio Cortazar A view from the sky by Curtis Zahn The squirrel cage by Thomas Disch The pukey by Nigel Dennis The locust cry by Norman Mailer In a hole by George P. Elliott A pedestrian accident by Robert Coover Tropism XV by Nathalie Sarraute In the corridors of the underground : the escalator by Alain Robbe-Grillet Welcome to Utah by Michel Butor The man in pyjamas by Eugenio Montale The self-contained compartment by Michael Goldstein Game by Donald Barthelme A mean teacher by Mitchell Sisskind Games VI by Reinhard Lettau Father, father, what have you done? by Russell Edson Taboo by Enrique Anderson Imbert

30 review for Anti-Story: An Anthology of Experimental Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    This exemplary anthology is nearly 45 years(!) young . . . back in 1971, Ann Quin had two years to live, God bless her depressive soul, William H. Gass was taking the first daring leap into his tunnel, Joyce Carol Oates was still barging her way into every anthology humanly conceivable, someone had heard of Keith Fort, Jorge Luis Borges had recently been “discovered” by Americans, Alain Robbe-Grillet was still taken seriously, and Eugène Ionesco was briefly recognised as a brilliant writer of sh This exemplary anthology is nearly 45 years(!) young . . . back in 1971, Ann Quin had two years to live, God bless her depressive soul, William H. Gass was taking the first daring leap into his tunnel, Joyce Carol Oates was still barging her way into every anthology humanly conceivable, someone had heard of Keith Fort, Jorge Luis Borges had recently been “discovered” by Americans, Alain Robbe-Grillet was still taken seriously, and Eugène Ionesco was briefly recognised as a brilliant writer of short prose. Grouped into eight categories—Against Mimesis, Against Reality, Against Event, Against Subject, Against the Middle Range of Experience, Against Analysis, Against Meaning, and Against Scale—the stories here capably represent the blooming boom of (mainly) campus-driven postmodernism, encompassing fairly French and Latin American influences, with a bone tossed to the Brits in the form of Ann Quin (God bless her squandered talent). Among the curios here, Keith Fort’s metafictional ‘The Coal Shoveller’, and the unmet promise of a novel-to-come from him in the bios, Curtis Zahn’s topdown American panorama ‘A View from the Sky’, and a story from the extremely forgotten Mitch Sisskind. A very strong entrypoint for the new reader of early pomo (not porno, Vacca), writings, available as a p-o-d book from The Free Press (owned by Simon & Shyster).

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tom Veale

    I picked this book up after seeing it listed in DFW’s library and realising that many of the authors included have been praised by Wallace (and others...) in his interviews and non-fiction. That’s not the only reason I picked this anthology up because I am capable of reading something without it being anchored in DFW (although I wouldn’t entirely fault some of my friends for saying otherwise), the other main reason was that I’ve spent most of this year working through the “classics” and notable I picked this book up after seeing it listed in DFW’s library and realising that many of the authors included have been praised by Wallace (and others...) in his interviews and non-fiction. That’s not the only reason I picked this anthology up because I am capable of reading something without it being anchored in DFW (although I wouldn’t entirely fault some of my friends for saying otherwise), the other main reason was that I’ve spent most of this year working through the “classics” and notable contemporary short fiction and thought this collection would give me a better idea of the landscape of quote unquote good short fiction. And I think this is exactly what the book is good for. I would definitely recommend this anthology for readers who’ve enjoyed short fiction that requires a bit more work to enjoy (e.g Borges, Gass) or short fiction that tends to be left of field apropos structure and style (e.g Oates, Barth). Pretty much every piece in here left me feeling intrigued and curious enough to look deeper into the authors history and works (someone please point me to any of Keith Fort’s other works?? After reading The Coal Shoveller I read his critical essays which were just as intriguing but can’t find any more fiction!). Stories of particular note: Life-story by Barth (although I would personally recommend other stories from Funhouse higher [title story and night-sea journey]) The Coal Shoveller by Fort, The Rhinoceros by Ionesco, A World Ends by Hildesheimer, A Pedestrian Accident by Coover, The Man In Pyjamas by Montale & Game by Barthelme. Like someone else mentioned, not all stories in this collection are five star worthy but still, all of the stories have something interesting to offer.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Griffin Alexander

    Perhaps not every story in here is 5 stars, but the fact this weird anthology exists is enough to warrant it. Picked this off of my Dad's shelf back when I was a teenager and was duly impressed by all of the weirdness. My first exposure to Borges (I didn't get it at the time [it's Menard...]), Barth, Gass, Sarraute, Coover, Barthelme, Edson. Through this I found Enrique Anderson Imbert, a rather odd Argentinian writer who worked primarily in the ultra-short story form and who I have seen nowhere Perhaps not every story in here is 5 stars, but the fact this weird anthology exists is enough to warrant it. Picked this off of my Dad's shelf back when I was a teenager and was duly impressed by all of the weirdness. My first exposure to Borges (I didn't get it at the time [it's Menard...]), Barth, Gass, Sarraute, Coover, Barthelme, Edson. Through this I found Enrique Anderson Imbert, a rather odd Argentinian writer who worked primarily in the ultra-short story form and who I have seen nowhere else (though I have recently tracked down a couple of his books in english from the land of ABE). It's a fun one!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amirsaman

    دو یا سه داستانش را برای پادکست داستانم انتخاب کردم. به نظرم مجموعه داستان خوبی است. t.me/radiotor

  5. 4 out of 5

    Will

    There are some real gems in this anthology, but few real surprises. The majority of the best stories in this collection are well-known works by well-known authors. These include "Life-Story" by Barth, "In the Heart of the Heart of the Country" by Gass, and "Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote" by Borges. Also, "A Pedestrian Accident" by Coover and "Game" by Barthelme. If you’re reading this post, chances are you’re already familiar with these authors. And you’re reading this post. There were som There are some real gems in this anthology, but few real surprises. The majority of the best stories in this collection are well-known works by well-known authors. These include "Life-Story" by Barth, "In the Heart of the Heart of the Country" by Gass, and "Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote" by Borges. Also, "A Pedestrian Accident" by Coover and "Game" by Barthelme. If you’re reading this post, chances are you’re already familiar with these authors. And you’re reading this post. There were some real stinkers, too. "Motherlogue" by Ann Quin was horrible. Only slightly better was "You Can't Cover Up the Sky With Your Hand" by Oscar Lewis. I also have reservations about Norman Mailer's "The Locust Cry". (However, I was surprised by Mailer's prose style. Better than I'd have thought. "The Locust Cry" is the only work of Mailer's that I've read.) Nor was I impressed by Mitchell Sisskind's "Mean Teacher". I gave this anthology a chance because of its inclusion of "In the Heart..." by Gass, perhaps my all-time favorite short fiction. With Anti-Story I was hoping to find other, similar works to "In the Heart..." The only work in Anti-Story bearing any semblance at all to Gass’s story is Joyce Carol Oates's "How I Contemplated..." Honestly, though, I've come to the conclusion that "In the Heart..." is one of a kind, and I should stop searching. I’ll never find another like it. Anti-Story did have a few great surprises, though. The real merit for me are those splendid stories I’d never read by authors I’d never known. “In the Corridor of the Underground: The Escalator” by Alain Robbe-Grillet was an unbelievable story. Wolfgang Hildesheimer’s “A World Ends” was another great story, very enchanting. I also loved Heinrich Boll’s “Seventh Trunk”, Curtis Zahn’s “A View From the Sky”, and Theodore Roethke’s “Last Class”. All of these stories were very good. One story, though, just blew me away. Tomasso Landolfi’s story, “Gogol’s Wife”, is absurd and funny and absurdly funny. This story alone was worth the price of admission. My advice? If you already own Gass’s In the Heart of the Heart of the Country and Borges’s Labyrinths (and these are short story collections you MUST own); if you’ve already read Barth’s In the Funhouse and Barthelme’s Sixty Stories and Coover’s Pricksongs and Descants; if you’ve visited your local library and picked through some short fiction by Oates or acted in a local community production of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros (well, that last one might be a stretch); if any of the aforementioned applies to you, leave Anti-Story alone. No need, really. But read “Gogol’s Wife”!!! Read it! Find a way. Find a way

  6. 4 out of 5

    Troy

    This was my first introduction to experimental fiction and I LOVED it. Landolfi, Ionesco, Borges, John Barth, Gass, Robbe-Grillet, Sarraute, Barthelme, Joyce Carol Oates, and many others. Great collection.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I still had this book from a college English class 40 years ago. I wasn't an English major, and though I thought I could deal with experimental literature, especially being older and wiser than when I was a college freshman, it's still not appealing. No stars. I still had this book from a college English class 40 years ago. I wasn't an English major, and though I thought I could deal with experimental literature, especially being older and wiser than when I was a college freshman, it's still not appealing. No stars.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Linda Franklin

    Probably at least half of everybody who writes ... be it fiction, poetry, plays... does a certain amount of "experimenting" with their writing. Fiction is supposed to be MADE UP STORYTELLING, right? And when you make stuff up, you are trying it out to see if it works, which is the same as experimenting. Some of the stories here are kinda excruciatingly experimental...like if you set fire to something in the lab while actually trying to look at it through a microscope. Who knows how pleased every Probably at least half of everybody who writes ... be it fiction, poetry, plays... does a certain amount of "experimenting" with their writing. Fiction is supposed to be MADE UP STORYTELLING, right? And when you make stuff up, you are trying it out to see if it works, which is the same as experimenting. Some of the stories here are kinda excruciatingly experimental...like if you set fire to something in the lab while actually trying to look at it through a microscope. Who knows how pleased every writer in this anthology was after a little time passed. But anyway, there are a lot of very famous authors in this collection, as well as some I never heard of (not that that really means anything), and so it is very fun to skip around in the book and just read what appeals to you at the moment. Kind of like the writer using a word that appeals to her/him at the moment. (There are actually three women authors out of a total of 29 authors. It was compiled in 1971 so now the numbers would be quite different I think.) One story I really really enjoyed was "Game" by Donald Barthelme, who has always always since about 1970 been one of my most favorite writers. The book is also quite interesting because it is divided into typological sections which the compiler/editor has explained in the 14pp introduction. * "Against Mimesis. fiction about fiction; * Against "Reality". the uses of fantasy. * Against Event. "the primacy of voice", *Against Subject, Fiction in search of something to be about. *Against the Middle Range of Experience. new forms of extremity. * Against Analysis. the phenomenal world. *Against Meaning, Forms of the absurd. *Against Scale. the minimal story. And some bio stuff in the back. This books would be a fabulous book for MFA creative writing students, and in fact would be very interesting for much younger writers, like in high school. ~Linda Campbell Franklin (2018 MFA graduate...creative writing and publishing arts, University of Baltimore. I would have loved to have seen this book.)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cheyenne Wildt

    I'll preface this review by admitting that I did not read every story in the anthology, only the ones assigned for my fiction course. However, I did read quite a few: at least two per chapter, including some of the longer ones like "In the heart of the heart of the country." While there are some moments that are funny and occasional descriptions that pique interest, the majority of the stories in this collection don't draw one in. In fact, many of them are like pulling teeth to get through. The I'll preface this review by admitting that I did not read every story in the anthology, only the ones assigned for my fiction course. However, I did read quite a few: at least two per chapter, including some of the longer ones like "In the heart of the heart of the country." While there are some moments that are funny and occasional descriptions that pique interest, the majority of the stories in this collection don't draw one in. In fact, many of them are like pulling teeth to get through. The ones that offer more elements of traditional mimetic fiction and are merely "absurd" give the most satisfaction in reading. In my course we talked a lot about what keeps us turning the page when reading a story, and for me personally these stories don't have what it takes. I understand and appreciate what the authors were trying to do with this genre, and love the idea of subverting expectations, but the fact remains that these stories just aren't fun to read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    S. Wilson

    Anti-Story should be called an anthology of Non-Traditional Fiction, as most of the short pieces within aren't attempting to break new ground as much as they employ uncommon variations of structure or narrative. The few selections that actually deserve the label of Experimental Fiction are "How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Corrections and Began My Life Over Again" by Joyce Carol Oates, "Welcome to Utah" by Michel Butor, and "In the Heart of the Heart of the Country" by Will Anti-Story should be called an anthology of Non-Traditional Fiction, as most of the short pieces within aren't attempting to break new ground as much as they employ uncommon variations of structure or narrative. The few selections that actually deserve the label of Experimental Fiction are "How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Corrections and Began My Life Over Again" by Joyce Carol Oates, "Welcome to Utah" by Michel Butor, and "In the Heart of the Heart of the Country" by William Gass. Of course, this is debatable depending on where you draw the line between non-traditional and experimental, and there are definitely several works here that openly challenge (or even mock) the placement of that border. Editor Philip Stevick organizes this selection of off-kilter literature into thematic groups: Against Mimesis (fiction about fiction), Against "Reality" (the uses of fantasy), Against Event (the primacy of voice), Against Subject (fiction in search of something to be about), Against the Middle Range of Experience (new forms of extremity), Against Analysis (the phenomenal world), Against Meaning (forms of the absurd), and the very brief Against Scale (the minimal story). Against Analysis and Against Event contain some of the most "experimental" work in the collection, containing some of the works previous mentioned, as well as the notable "In the Corridors of the Underground: The Escalator" by Alain Robbe-Grillet and "Last Class" by Theodore Roethke. Against Meaning and Against the Middle Range of Experience are personal favorites, with bizarre and off-beat tales such as "A Pedestrian Accident" by Robert Coover, and The Man in Pyjamas by Eugenio Montale. Despite my quibbling over the semantics of the title, this is a very impressive collection of short fiction that will undoubtedly contain new and interesting material for even the most well-read individual. Some of the works within might be harder to get through than others depending on your experience level, and the impressively dense and non-linear works might leave a few readers behind. But if you're looking for literature beyond the norm, you would be hard-pressed to stumble over a more diverse cross-section of literary talent and gumption than this one.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Igor

    Este texto me es muy querido, puesto que logró recordarme que no todo está escrito. Y que vale la pena explorar nuevos caminos en torno a lo literario. Por supuesto, Cortázar y Borges no podían faltar en tanto autores fundamentales (en lo personal, pero también en este texto). Recomendabilísimo.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shenoto

    شما می توانید فایل صوتی بخش‌ها‌یی از کتاب «ضد داستان» را با صدای مترجم آن، ادریس رنجی در شنوتو بشنوید: http://shenoto.com/podcast/2425 شما می توانید فایل صوتی بخش‌ها‌یی از کتاب «ضد داستان» را با صدای مترجم آن، ادریس رنجی در شنوتو بشنوید: http://shenoto.com/podcast/2425

  13. 5 out of 5

    David Corbet

    This book was not my cup of tea, especially since I enjoy coffee. It's desire to be experimental has dated it and made it very irrelevant, guess that is why I found it in the discard pile. This book was not my cup of tea, especially since I enjoy coffee. It's desire to be experimental has dated it and made it very irrelevant, guess that is why I found it in the discard pile.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I am clearly not into experimental fiction. This is a sure fire cure for insomnia though.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ebrahim Refaghat

  16. 4 out of 5

    Migz

  17. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erich

  19. 4 out of 5

    David Young

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jane L

  21. 5 out of 5

    Charles

  22. 4 out of 5

    Raymond Domingue

  23. 5 out of 5

    Waqia

  24. 5 out of 5

    Silas

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tina

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bri Forney

  27. 4 out of 5

    Phee Stringer

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dan Clore

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amin Razavi

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Lynn

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