Winesburg, Ohio is a little-known masterpiece that forever changed the course of American storytelling. Bittersweet and richly insightful, it reveals Sherwood Anderson’s special talent for taking the small moments of life and transforming them into timeless folk tales - a talent that inspired a generation of writers including William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck.
At the center of this collection of stories stands George Willard, an earnest young reporter for the Winesburg Eagle who sets out to gather the town’s daily news. He ends up discovering the town’s deepest secrets as one by one, the townsfolk confide their hopes, dreams, and fears to the reporter. In their recollections of first loves and last rites, of sprawling farms and winding country roads, the town rises vividly - and poignantly - to life.
With polished prose and fresh imagery, Winesburg, Ohio is an American classic that celebrates small-town life in the lost days of innocence and good will.
Public Domain (P)1995 Recorded Books, LLC
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
This is one of those important novels I would have probably passed over or missed if Sherwood Anderson wasn't mentioned in so many lists--and if so many authors I admire (Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck, O'Connor, McCarthy) didn't mention him as an influence or inspiration.
There is something beautiful about every single sentence that Anderson writes. Some of the stories in 'Winesburg, Ohio' (Death, Loneliness, the Strength of God, Godliness, and Adventure) were nearly perfect. Others, while they might not have hit me as hard as those five, were still almost uniformly beautiful and interesting. Like waves beating rhythmically against a wall, Anderson's stories seemed to gently deliver a message from the universe of the grotesque. Ideas of isolation, loneliness, love and the need to reach out to others (to find love or understanding) float from one story to the next and weave the various plots of the twenty-two short stories together. 'Winesburg, Ohio' is a great piece of American fiction and an amazing piece of 2oth century art.
The audio books I get tend to be either 1) scifi or 2) things for my husband and me to listen to on long road trips--humor or history
Got about halfway through and the book just wasn't grabbing my interest. The preponderance of male protagonists bored me and the backhanded treatment of the female characters irritated me so much I just couldn't finish it.
Two notes: The cover art is wrong . . . it really is Winesburg, Ohio. And the audio is not as well edited as I would like. What I take to be the titles of the individual stories are spoken so quickly after the end of the previous story as to be easily mistaken as the continuation of the same story. It seems like a little thing, but it was really quite annoying to listen to.
Though it may outwardly resemble Disneyland's Main Street, U.S.A., the rural town of Winesburg, in this famous collection of related short stories, is far from quaint and pastoral; rather, it's a hotbed of thwarted dreams, stifled passions, and suicidal loneliness. Anderson couldn't write explicitly about sex in those days, but it's a central element in many of the lives he examines, most of them tragic. There's so much misery in this community, so many painful or twisted emotions bubbling beneath the proper surface of daily life, that the stories seem at times almost self-parodies. (The style invites parody and has indeed been parodied.)
What sets this audiobook apart is the amazing performance that George Guidall gives. All I can say is that his reading is extremely unusual, extremely mannered, all the more so if you try listening to it, as I did, played at half speed. His delivery is somber and portentous, emphasizing every single word, and every single sentence somehow reads like a death sentence, ending on a somber, despairing note. I don't know how Anderson would have felt about it, but I think it's a brilliant performance that brings out the best in the stories.
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