William H. Gass has written of Donald Barthelme that "he has permanently enlarged our perception of the possibilities open to short fiction." In Forty Stories, the companion volume to Sixty Stories, we encounter a dazzling array of subjects: Paul Klee, Goethe, Captain Blood, modern courtship, marriage and divorce, armadillos, and other unique Barthelmean flights of fancy. These pithy, brilliantly acerbic pieces tangle with the ludicrous, pose questions that remain unresolved, and challenge familiar bits of language heretofore unexamined. Forty Stories demonstrates Barthelme's unrivaled ability to surprise, to stimulate, and to explore.
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