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I Sailed with Magellan by Stuart Dybek
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I Sailed with Magellan (2003)

by Stuart Dybek

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189262,490 (3.86)1
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I wonder if the dominance of bildungsroman narratives in the shnovels (linked books of short stories) I've surveyed indicates a modern realization about the nature of growing up. It isn't linear or clean, a smooth line of story unspooling over years, and the collage approach of books like Local Girls and this one seems a better fit for our current understanding of memory and childhood.

At any rate, a bildungs-shnovel is more or less what this is; along the way, a portrait of place and yet another story where the heart is half-hidden in the untold. I liked that Perry's story includes his brother's, the way real people's growing does intertwine and contrast with the growth of those around them. I liked the elements of the unreal or quasi-mythic in the neighborhood, in the stories of the men who drink at Zip's. I like the way the young people are explicitly interested in understanding their lives as stories and writing their own identities. ( )
1 vote eilonwy_anne | May 29, 2008 |
Stuart Dybek wrote a short story I loved so I was really looking forward to reading this book, but I couldn't get into it and now the library wants it back. I want to try again eventually, though.
  Alirambles | Apr 7, 2008 |
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Epigraph
In memory everything seems to happen to music. - Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

Yo no digo esta cancion/
sino a quien conmigo va. - Anonymous, "El Conde Arnaldos"
Dedication
For Adeline Dybek 1913-2003
First words
Once I was a great singer.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312424116, Paperback)

Following his renowned The Coast of Chicago and Childhood, story writer Stuart Dybek returns with eleven masterful and masterfully linked stories about Chicago's fabled and harrowing South Side. United, they comprise the story of Perry Katzek and his widening, endearing clan. Through these streets walk butchers, hitmen, mothers and factory workers, boys turned men and men turned to urban myth. I Sailed With Magellan solidifies Dybek's standing as one of our finest chroniclers of urban America.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:12 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"From writer Stuart Dybek comes a major new work of fiction: a novel-in-stories, eleven tales told by a single voice of remarkable narrative power. In I Sailed with Magellan, Dybek finds characters of irrepressible vitality in the stark neighborhoods of Chicago's South Side, where his hero, the restless Perry Katzek, transforms his daily experiences into lush, imaginative adventures." "In each of Dybek's intertwined episodes there is remarkable music, the rhythm of a street culture captured in all its emotional depth and unexpected humor: a man takes his young nephew to a string of taverns, where the boy sings for his uncle's bourbon; a small-time thug is distracted from making a hit by the mysterious reappearance of several ex-girlfriends; two unemployed youths hatch a scheme to finance their road trip to Mexico by selling orchids stolen from the rich side of town; a young couple's amorous beach adventure is interrupted when an unexpected visitor washes ashore. As these poignant chapters unfold with sometimes hilarious, sometimes tragic results, Perry Katzek grapples with the exotic possibilities that the world offers him, finding even beneath the often brutal surface of Chicago life."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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