TOBIAS WOLEF (1945- ).
Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 June 2001
These two titles share the topic of short stories. There is an overlap of 16 writers who are represented in both books, but there are also important differences between the covers.The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story^B begins with 11 essays^B on broad topics^B such as "The American Short Story, 1807-1900," "The African American Short Story," and "American Short Stories of the Holocaust." After the general essays, some 113 author essays are arranged alphabetically, from Adams, Alice to Yezierska, Anzia. Each contains a brief biographical sketch, an overview of the writer's career and major contributions, an analysis of some stories, and a selected bibliography. Essays range in length from four pages to a maximum of eight pages. Many of the writers covered--among them James Baldwin, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, Ernest Hemingway, and Edith Wharton--are firmly established in the canon, although there are also some relative newcomers, such as Rick Bass, Sandra Cisneros, and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.Greenwood's book presents 47 contemporary short story writers whose major works were produced in the latter part of the twentieth century (1960s on), among them Chinua Achebe, Margaret Atwood, Nadine Gordimer, and Maxine Hong Kingston. More than half come from ethnic groups who were not recognized in this field until the 1980s. Among them are American writers of Jewish, African, Native American, Asian, and Latin American descent. Other writers come from Great Britain, Africa, Canada, Ireland, West Indies, Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa. Approximately 30 of the writers are women.Entries begin with biographical information, followed by a brief review of existing criticism, a more detailed analysis of specific works, and a selected bibliography. The chapters about each writer vary in length from as little as 4 pages to as many as 15 pages for Robert Coover.The Columbia Companion offers deeper coverage of American short stories, while A Reader's Companion to the Short Story in English provides a more global perspective. Both would be an asset to library collections at the high-school and college levels. Another fine volume, The Facts On File Companion to the American Short Story [RBB S 1 00], covers American writers from the early nineteenth through the twentieth centuries and has entries for literary terms and theories, influential magazines, important collections, awards, notable characters, and subgenres, as well as for authors. ((Reviewed June 1 & 15, 2001)) Copyright 2001 Booklist Reviews