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The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake by Breece…
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The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake (1983)

by Breece D'J Pancake

Other authors: James Alan McPherson (Foreword)

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5431328,806 (4.12)18
Breece D'J Pancake cut short a promising career when he took his own life at the age twenty-six. Published posthumously, this is a collection of stories that depict the world of Pancake's native rural West Virginia.

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» See also 18 mentions

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"A grasshopper landed on the banister, and Reva watched its armored jaws bubble juice."

Pancake can sing. Holy jeez. ( )
  Adammmmm | Sep 10, 2019 |
** spoiler alert ** Sometimes brilliant, sometimes promising. If he had not taken his life I think he would have written beautiful things of the quality of the best stories here (and the best are very very good), but possibly not. Breece is relentlessly bleak, perhaps too certain he knows the minds and souls of others. Worth a read for anyone who wants to read short stories that most definitely did not come out of an MFA program. ( )
  Narshkite | Mar 4, 2019 |
I am, for better or worse, a very fast reader. I don't usually take my time, even if I ought to; I tend to plow through regardless of genre or difficulty. Of course, there are plenty of writers whose work is so densely packed that it requires that you flip back and forth, to catch the nuances, to slow down, unpack, reflect. There are only a very few writers that stop a reader like me in my tracks in the very first sentence. These are the authors whose every sentence is so skillfully crafted that one cannot help but savor each perfectly edited choice; they require, from the get-go, an entirely different pace and an entirely different kind of active reading. Engaging with them is like sitting in a masterclass, and the feeling is mostly awe.

So it is with Breece Pancake. Every sentence is perfect. Every bit is necessary. There is nothing in excess. He has total command not only of the words, but of the silences and spaces between them. ( )
  reganrule | Feb 22, 2016 |
Among the various collections of short stories I've read over the years, I'd have to put this one near the top.

Breece D'J Pancake was clearly a talented writer -- and one who cared deeply about his creations.

In all honesty, most of my reading of this collection occurred during subway commutes to and from work -- i.e., not the ideal circumstances, by any means, under which to read someone's sole opus. (The author committed suicide in his late 20's.) But we live in a world of a thousand momentary and pesky distractions. A good writer has to contend with each and every one of them.

My principal difficulty in reading Breece's stories had most to do with his dialect. He writes from the POV of his fellow West Virginians -- a disjointed folk who are easy neither on the eye nor on the ear. Couple that with the noise of a subway car, and quick 'n' easy understanding becomes elusive.

I would highly recommend this collection of stories to aspiring writers. Breece is truly a writer's writer. Would I recommend it to casual readers? Nope.

RRB
( )
  RussellBittner | Dec 12, 2014 |
The stories here are beautifully drawn through clean, clear prose. I love his writing style, and that, really, is what kept me going, because the actually composition of the stories is quite lacking, in that each feels and acts like something work shopped and assembled from a bag of traditional leitmotifs and themes. None of the stories really elicit the fresh idiom or messy interpretation of life and the world that most stunning writers strive towards. Breece seemed content writing beautifully assembled stories that might as well all be told from the same guy about the same hillside.

There seems to be something missing. I don't know. Maybe it's that the voice and style of every story---hell, every sentence---seems cut from the same cloth, from the same larger sheet, with the same scissors.

There is a tremendous sensitivity here, and I believe he could have become a great writer if not for his suicide at age 26, but right now his stories are way too pre-packaged and airtight for my taste. ( )
  blanderson | Mar 4, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Breece D'J Pancakeprimary authorall editionscalculated
McPherson, James AlanForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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I open the truck's door, step onto the brick side street.
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