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Amateurs by Donald Barthelme
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Amateurs (1976)

by Donald Barthelme

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Amateurs is a collection of short stories written during the seventies. The 1001 Book describes them as “absurdist morality tales” and that fits. Barthelme plays with words and at times I thought “what is this?”, it read like a bunch of ideas dropped in a free association that the author could go back to later and create a story. Others actually had more of a story line. Some were interesting, some were confusing. Here are some titles from some of the more interesting ones;
120 West Sixty-first Street I thought this might represent the isolation and struggle a couple would go through at the death of a young child.
Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby, they decide to hang Colby as he has gone to far and as friends they assume they have this right. Humorous but….
The Great Hug, here I am just going to give you a word from the story, semiantireprophetical.
The Agreement, worry by a father about his daughter in the event of divorce????
Porcupines at the University interesting but ??????
The End of the Mechanical Age Thoughts on God, marriage, divorce, a great list of tools. Might be my favorite.
Overall, this was a quick read, so one you can knock off fast but each of these stories could be contemplated a long time and might make great discussions. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 4, 2012 |
Quite possibly the quirkiest and most delightful short stories ever.
  dreamingtereza | May 6, 2007 |
A geat collection of stories. "The School" is one of the most hilarious things I've ever read, and would have been enough to put Barthelme in my personal pantheon. ( )
  NicholasPayne | Jul 26, 2006 |
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