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Publisher's Summary

The story of a book critic and his final thoughts from short-story master Tobias Wolff...

Anders is an angry, cynical man. A book critic known for his scathing reviews, he finds any excuse to dismiss, belittle, or insult. This afternoon is no more agitating than the next. Angers finds himself in a long line at the bank, waiting to reach a teller. Even after two men - wearing masks and carrying guns - take control of the building, Anders is unfazed. It's this behavior that lands him with a pistol against his stomach and a man screamingin his face. And when the bank robber, indignant over Anders' behavior, shoots the book critic in the head, his mind floats through the memories of his life, settling on one particular event....

©1996 Tobias Wolff (P)2013 Blackstone Audio

What listeners say about Bullet in the Brain

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Perfect Example

I had a professor who said while it is impossible to write the perfect novel, it is possible to write a perfect short story. If I remember correctly, he assigned this one as the perfect example.

4 people found this helpful

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Great short story.

Short but compelling. Captures what a short story should do. I'm seeking out more by Tobias Wolff to read.

1 person found this helpful

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They is; they is......

A snooty art critic with a droll sense of humor plucks the last nerve of a bank robber who then shoots the man in the head. The victim sees, in slo mo, a lifetime of memories and experiences as the bullet travels through his brain. Very creative!

1 person found this helpful

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Unnecessary "Adult Content"

Stopped this one just a few minutes in when the, totally unnecessary, graphic sexual language kicked in. Might have been a great story, and IMHO, could have been just as great with out the nasty innuendos. Guess I missed the Warning on this one !?!

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  • JM
  • 05-22-21

I Can Relate

This was an awesome little short story, I can totally relate to the scene in the bank, not the robbery but the waiting in line with not enough tellers. Great reading by Anthony Heald.

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A bullet point of a story.

I'm left wondering if this is an act of revenge for a bad review that Tobias Wolff received, or if it is to avenge all heartless reviews of any books. Regardless, it is an entertaining 13 minutes.

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Exactly what it sounds like

This story is about exactly what the title sounds like. A man is standing in line at a bank and he gets shot in the head with a bullet by a bank robber. He reminisces over his life while he's dying. I think I like Wolff's shortest stories in this collection the best because I enjoyed this one. On a side note, I don't think the summaries of the stories accurately represent what is presented in the stories; they seem to give extra information that isn't explored in the story itself and that's a bit disappointing.

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A true gem.

This was recommended as a “hidden gem” for subscribers. It did not disappoint. As the other review says, it is basically perfect.

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  • Sleet117
  • 10-30-20

Wonderfully tragic and poignant.

Wow! What fantastic narrator Anthony Heald is! He is perfectly suited to Tobias Wolff's storytelling.