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The World to Come: Stories

Jim Shepard

7 Reviews

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Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Short stories

The first collection of short stories by Jim Shepard - widely regarded to be one of the best living short story writers in America - to be published in the UK

A fantastic writer - compassionate, funny and fearless' George Saunders

'One of the US's finest writers' according to Joshua Ferris, Jim Shepard now delivers a new collection that spans borders and centuries with unrivalled mastery.

These ten stories ring with voices as diverse as those belonging to Arctic explorers in history's most nightmarish expedition, the Montgolfier brothers competing to be the first man to fly, and two American frontierswomen whose passionate connection is severed by jealous husbands and a deadly snowstorm.

In each case the personal is the political as these humans, while falling in love or negotiating marital pitfalls or simply coming to terms with their own failings, face the tidal wave of nature's indifference and cruelty. History has swept them from our sympathy; Jim Shepard has reached into the past and sought them out.

In his first collection to be published in the UK, this celebrated master of the short story displays his formidable acuity in imagining these wildly different worlds, and what our various lives feel like in the grip of catastrophe.

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Praise for The World to Come: Stories

  • Remarkable for their sheer range . . . Everything he writes is enriched by an underlying magnanimity. - Sunday Times

  • Retelling 'real' stories is Shepard's forte. He is a dramatist with a reporter's dispassion. The measured tone is pitch

  • perfect. There is no sense of sensationalism, no over-emoting, no embellishment. He lets his facts do the talking and in several of the stories in The World to Come the effect is devastating and affecting . . . He is a terrific writer whose arrival on these shores is long overdue. - Glasgow Herald

  • In ten meticulously researched stories, Shepard elegantly places the emotional dilemmas of morose, melancholy, misunderstood characters against backdrops that emphasise the vastness of the world and the smallness of their hopes and dreams . . . Wonderful - Daily Mail

  • Greedier writers would spin entire novels out of just one of the richly weird, hilariously bizarre premises that distinguish a Jim Shepard story. His stories can be set in any corner of the world, at any era in time, and there is no oddment or calamity of the human experience Shepard does not find fascinating. His stories are droll, action packed, ingenious and finally moving. - Colin Barrett

  • An outrageously versatile and gifted fiction writer, Shepard continues his original, precise exploration of times and places long ago and far, far away . . . Shepard's project is always to push toward that sense of wonder and the 'high hopefulness' of purpose that ordinary people have always brought to the project of living - to give us through fiction a sense of profound empathy that the historical record alone cannot. He most stunningly succeeds - Washington Post

  • Like Alice Munro, Shepard has a knack for compressing a novel's worth of life into thirty or forty pages . . . It all adds up to a peculiar yet arresting vision, as Shepard lets you see a startling variety of dangers and conundrums through the eyes of characters who, poignantly or even despairingly, can't quite summon the humanity that's hidden away in them - Boston Globe

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Jim Shepard

Jim Shepard is the author of four previous collections, including Like You'd Understand, Anyway, which won The Story Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award, and his short fiction has often been selected for Best American Short Stories and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories. The most recent of his seven novels, The Book of Aron, won the PEN/New England Award, the Sophie Brody Medal for achievement in Jewish literature, the Harold U. Ribalow Book Prize for Jewish literature, and the Clark Fiction Prize. He lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts with his wife, the writer Karen Shepard, his three children and three beagles, and he teaches at Williams College.

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