Thirteen Stories and Thirteen Epitaphs PDF » Thirteen


Thirteen Stories and Thirteen Epitaphs [PDF / EPUB] Thirteen Stories and Thirteen Epitaphs This stunning new collection of stories confirms William T Vollmann's growing reputation as the American writer whose books tower over the work of his contemporaries by virtue of their enormous range This stunning new and Thirteen eBook ´ collection of stories confirms William T Vollmann's growing reputation as the American writer whose books tower over the work of his contemporaries by virtue of their enormous range huge ambition stylistic daring wide learning audacious innovation and sardonic wit Washington Post Book World All these ualities are in evidence in this collection in which the character of the writer and that of some of his intimates both real and imaginary surface and resurface in a series of extraordinary situations and encounters Two astonishing stories Thirteen Stories PDF/EPUB or frame this collection The first The Ghost of Magnetism tells about a young man leaving San Francisco to become a sort of literary hobo living on his freeze dried memories The last The Grave of Lost Stories describes the death of Poe in a fungus encrusted tomb somewhere deep in the earth Here is the colorful and disreputable group of people familiar to us from Vollmann's earlier fiction pimps tramps pornographers witch doctors and massage parlor girls Within these stories Vollmann gives us one of the most searching Stories and Thirteen Kindle Ñ bizarre and subversive views of America today.


10 thoughts on “Thirteen Stories and Thirteen Epitaphs

  1. says:

    45 starsThis book is a mixed fare both in terms of form and contentShort story is a challenging format–for the writer – to achieve perfection within a limited space for the reader if they be reviewing it– in that how to convey a coherent sense of a diverse loosely connected potpourriThankfully the number 13 provides a clue– tales of longing nostalgia loss despair– ominous in the sense that existence itself can be sometimes in a major key as in the S M tale The Handcuff Manual sometimes in a minor key as in the tales of uiet desperation Flowers in Your Hair My Portraits My Love My WifeEach story is followed by an Epitaph– as Vollmann writes in the Author's Note A good story is only a hearse to carry you to the ending where the epitaph waitsThis collection is bookended by two masterfully done stories– The Ghost of Magnetism The Grave of Lost Stories In the former the narrator Vollmann in the midst of his farewell party in San Francisco tries imagining a life away from his friends the state of grace ie SF– he conjures up all kinds of future scenarios for himself EastWestNorthSouth– but there's no relief anywhere The story climaxes in Las Vegas where the author figure vomits out memories of his friends in a pool full of the beautiful people Nostalgia drives this story a desire to know be part of the inner lives of people which is also true of the rest of this collection as most stories here are portraits of people of moments in their livesOne can not help but compare contrast the sharp differences in attitude displayed towards San Francisco by two genius writers– Vollmann A Theroux As in Laura Warholic orThe Sexual Intellectual It's worth ponderingThe Poe storyThe Grave of Lost Stories astonishingly recaptures the cadence baroue horror of Poe's own prose a wonderful homageIt's hard to separate personal from the fictional here as the Bill character appears in so many stories so do his many friends especially Ken Miller Greenglass –in fact the book is dedicated to these two This book features many Vollmann staples– whores pimps druggies hobos diverse geographical locales white man chasing Asian womanThird World prostitute etcThe story The Bad Girl featuring Ken Miller his Thai prostitute 'wife' Yummy presents an integral aspect of Vollmann's whore fixation– a white man trying to 'save' a third world prostitute to give her a better life– ends up slumming it in Bangkok then you realize what's the big deal here? This guy was earlier slummimg it in the Tenderloin area of SF with his Japanese lover Satoko he has always been a marginal character– it's the whore who saves him You can find out a lot about Vollmann's personal views on friends life in general as the authorial voice is present through out– it might annoy some readers but I enjoyed it it's the way DFW reveals himself in his essays I also got a taste of Vollmann's humour it's playful very tongue in cheek I had an issue thoughwhen he tarrs all the beautiful people with the same brush in the Las Vegas projected scenario– not all rich folks are bad not all poor folks are good For all he knows some of those holidayers might've scraped together money for years for that Vegas holiday What gives him the right to puke in their pool thus symbolically puke on their very existence?Still I enjoyed reading this book There are prose passages of amazing grace beauty esp the pastoral scene in the story called In Omaha so many lines here there that make you go wow I also loved the epigraphs chosen by WTV for each story such wide learningMy personal favs– Flowers in Your Hair Maybe cause I like wearing flowers in my hair In Omaha A very personal story The Ghost of Magnetism The Grave of Lost Stories My fav Epitaphs– Jaguar a Rajasthani Palace a Coward's Heart Kennedy a Loved BookThe only story I didn't like was Tropicana– I couldn't make any sense of itHow I wish both Bill Ken had visited Dharavi the largest slum in Asia also the red light areas of Mumbai Kolkata who knows what stories pics those people places might have inspiredBut now a daysKen Miller makes his living via wedding photographyOpen All NightAnd Billy boy's whoring days safely behind himhe's happy dressing up as a womanThe Book of DoloresAs Hemingway famously wrote The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken placesKen Miller is Bill's photographer buddy from his Tenderloin days Greenglass is the controversial guy who was wrongly accused of child pornography by the FBI even the most shining of all peacocks must eventually fold his fantail exhausted and let it drag on the wet and dry grassSo you blew the dust off the sighting mirror of your compass whose precision lines framed your face as if you were looking at yourself through the reticule of a sniping rifleSatoko was a beautiful vampire who said nothing did nothing absorbed him like a lake into which he a stone fell with scarcely a ripple There was nothing about her to understand she was the infinity of emptinessIn the suburbs of Gun City lovely loveless housewives took phenobarbital and lay curled in bed all day like frozen shrimpInside Elaine there were brick walls with arches as in Poe's wine cellar; there the telltale hearts had once beat like trembling liver coloured water balloons bulging through the opening like Mishima's intestines when he committed sepukku ; but everything was dry now; Elaine had let the blood out


  2. says:

    I started feeling down on my adopted city today this land of precious yuppie scum but Vollmann helps me see the bright side It's not just yuppies this city is also filled with junkies hobos pornographers and whores as well as people who somehow manage to fit into all these categories at once If Vollmann has lunch at a diner in SF he's likely to give the name of the establishment and the intersection where it's located And it always seems to be a real place All the information is accurate Which makes it kind of funny that in this collection he can't even bring himself to name that other city New York I would call that a coup for the west coast


  3. says:

    I read William T Vollmann because he occasionally gets everything right all at once Tucked between pages of overwritten and sometimes annoying prose he'll pull everything together for a few sentences that are crass ethical devastating beautiful and true I wonder if he will ever be constrained by himself or an editor to pack his finest moments into a novel all their own; it would be a formidable work 13 Stories and 13 epitaphs like a few other Vollmann short story collections is awfully close to being a shredded novel perhaps another place where an editor less overwhelmed by Vollmann's fame might have made some suggestions Characters recur throughout and the narrative voice is of a presence and of a character than say Anderson is in Winesburg OhioA longer excerpt from the beginning of the eighth story offers a particularly unobscured example of Vollmann's subject matter and point of viewAdmittedly whatever help I offered has rarely succeeded in accomplishing anything; yet I myself have benefited so much from the generosity of friends and strangers that I have never seen reason to be pessimistic about what one human being can do for another There are always instances good and bad that prove that the world does not work the way we expect it to I remember the case of Sheet Rock Mark who went with my friend Ken to a Vietnamese restaurant and Mark kept yelling what the fuck do you want to take me to this gook place for? why do you want this goddamned gook food? and I imagine that the Vietnamese lady who served them understood very well the drift of Mark's words and feared and hated Mark and then after lunch Mark saw that the door was broken and he said to her oh you want me to fix your door? He got his tools and worked on that door for a good hour and when he was finished the door was fixed and the Vietnamese lady was happy It seems to me that Mark did good than one of the people who have despised Mark for calling her a gook who would have been polite to her and smiled at her encouragingly when she tried to speak English but who would never in a million years have repaired the doorThis is Vollmann matter of fact and confrontational sitting amongst the people who concern him At another point also concerned with a war veteran Vollmann writes with intensityNonetheless he had kept the dog tags of the last German that he'd killed one minute before Hitler committed suicide They were two cold black strips of metal joined by a chain; they were heavy and slick with gun oil; they had the smell of handcuffs about them Sometimes when the rest of the family was watching the blue adventures of Lone Shen on the old television and everybody got killed in action all over again he went out to the garage to hold them in his hands It was strange the way they could suck the warmth out of him He told no one about them least of all his wife because they had power and were magic A houselight from across the featurlessly white walled driveway shone green in the window which was grey and of a varying texture like pond ice He held the dog tags up to the light and watched them glow but they sucked him dry somehow they left him so tired that when he pissed he could note even tell whether the ringing in his ears was piss striking the bowl or a sound in his head or maybe the ringing of a telephoneOf course within a minute's read you can be mired in a twelve page chopped up whore dialogue of broken and accented English Or your narrator might ask Which of the umpety ump million flavors of pussy would he taste tonight? But this multi colored unapologetic mess has characterized much of the Vollmann that I have read and when I see that it characterizes another of his works and when I see that I am not about to read a mythologized book about an icelandic power vest I will read it Sometimes you are embarrassed for Vollmann and sometimes he embarrasses you He is earnest thoughtful far away from what you know and allergic to the cheap laughs and the garbagey referential humor of his contemporary American novelists


  4. says:

    This is the least interesting work I have read by William Vollman Some of the stories were pretty good but most seemed like crumbs from other better works


  5. says:

    you left home in short and went north to Gualala among the blueberries and the huckleberries and you liked Gualala because it was only half a day's drive from San Francisco and the smell of sun on the clay of the pygmy forest was so good; you loved the way that trees leaned against trees and the way that tree twigs fared downward like the ribs of fishes and you fed your compass sweetheart the pale young needle shoots of spruces and hemlocks because those were the sweetest and the earth was so luxuriously giving that you could run down an almost vertical slope without fear because your heels sank deep in the loam with every step to make steps for you; you hugged the azaleas for fun; you ate some miner's lettuce and there was a breeze and the soft hills were like birds waving their fern wings but then the blackness that Elaine chew so much about was clawing at you and your heels slipped and you tumbled down the hill cutting your face on prickers and falling farther and farther north past Willits where you and Seth had set up a tent one night and been scared by a racoon magnifying it into a brown bear a black bear a grizzly bear a polar bear a softly terrifying monster of immense cunning prepared to smother you with its night bulk;


  6. says:

    There's a fine line between experimental and unreadable and Vollman for reasons which are probably personal to me falls on the unreadable side of the line I know many people love his prose and I laud any writer's attempt to push the envelope but this collection of portraits alternately baffled and bored me It was only near the end of the volume when Vollman writes about his Norwegian grandfather that the words came alive for me Whether that has to do with me or with him I cannot say


  7. says:

    One day I will have read every book Vollmann has published and on that day I will be uite sad


  8. says:

    As long as I had known her she had been crying because although she was loving and wanted to be glamorous unknowing that she already was she could not help lashing out carelessly and childishly and selfishly so she drove away the men she adored and then was miserable and dreamed about them and cried herself to sleep or sat in bed at night smoking cigarettes and watching the moonHe loved the mystery that defended itself successfully against him behind that sweet shield of forehead Almost crazed by that face he came so close to he opened his suitcases and began to show her his belongings as slowly as he could so that she would have to spend of her life with him But the dead leaves I walk on I'll walk on them tenderly; I'll caress them with rain's cool fingers; I'll rest them on rivers My boots are sanctified with dead leaves; my feet aren't worth the dead dirt I walk onElaine took Abraham out for dinner the two of them sitting on coppery stools not seeing the men at the next table lift upper lips and flip back sap brims already flipped back resting their cheeks in their hands muttering Gun City sure has gone to hell; shuffling their feet on the floor as they argued over the check; Abraham saw only Elaine; Elaine saw only Abraham even when the place caught fire and then the automatic sprinkler came on to drench them and the waitress and other shattered operators but at least Abraham could go on kissing her; at least he had thatBut then before I could answer the radio would play the song about how if you go to San Francisco you need to wear some flowers in your hair because flowers are the code for love; San Francisco is the city of love; that song had been young in the time when I thought to run away from home I had never heard of San Francisco then So I made up my mind to go back for a visit I used to travel around the world I'd go to all those different countries And now I'm back in the Tenderloin each person I meet is like a different country although I only go from hall to hallWhen they were younger my grandfather and grandmother used to go hunting together and once my grandmother came running to him through the sunny grass with a pheasant in her arms and she was laughing and the living bird trembled in her arms with its feathers shining a thousand colors of purple and my grandmother said I didn't have the heart to kill it; it's such a beautiful bird; and when my grandfather took it from her to wring its neck it got away from him and spread its wings and flew away so free and high above the grassThe sunlight was very gentle The tips of the grass were crowned with golden and white They glowed against the darker shade of the stalks like jet trails in the sky Down low the grass was paler and thinner; sometimes it was speckled Wind songs and birdsongs and grass songs filled the afternoon; the grass songs were the loudest The rustlings were stiff and gentle Nothing was being whirled and scraped like dry leaves in a wind; nothing was being hurt like my grandmother; grass was bowing against grass and grass crowds were whispering; that was all You could bend a grass stalk double without hurting it; but when you bent it sharply against itself it snapped in two The breeze never bent it like thatAnd suddenly a star ball of glowing gases descended through the trees and Psyche said I fear the pallor of that Star but he showed his teeth in a laugh and said don't be afraid Sis I assure you that a star as bright as that can only light our way but she said no Eddie I don't wait it to Then certainly he pacified his sweet Psyche; he had to; I am entitled as a reader to say that he kissed her still thinking of the crystalline light of that Star that maddened and exalted him; but Psyche still snivelled and trailed her little wings in the dust so to distract her from her scruples and gloom he asked her what do you think happens to the dead Stories? and she said oh Eddie they're not as unhappy as you think because I see them all around me so brittle and sparkling blowing everywhere like dandelion seeds so many of them even here in this horrid dark place that they're around me in constellations of stars


  9. says:

    There's really no disputing Vollmann's talent Nevertheless I found this a chore to get through It is a set of stories each followed with an epitaph They are loosely connected and apparently loosely autobiographical a character named Bill or William pops up routinely often with a similar wry diffident observational affect The first is pretty much par for the course here The narrator in very purple albeit beautiful prose waxes elouent free of final punctuation reminiscing about a variety of characters who may or may not have made up a significant portion of his emotional life in a city that seems to be San Francisco The reminiscences take on a life of their own and the unwary can find themselves uickly lost and needing to backtrack in order to trace what clause goes with which pal and so on It sets up the fairly louche atmosphere well The narrator knows a lot of weird people a lot of whores and passes no judgment on any of them The epitaphs to the stories are often tales in themselves The opener kind of sets up this motif of leave taking which obtains throughout much of the text Some of the stories offer points of entry than others Personal favorites were the opener The Ghost of Magnetism a story of fraught life in a whorehouse The Happy Girls and a bizarre story about the last of a set of brothers sent off to war The Handcuff Manual Some of the others were entertaining or confusing or just didn't seem particularly memorable Especially difficult was the final tale The Grave of Lost Stories which is meant to be a kind of closer but also an extended imaginative recreation of some biographical material on Edgar Allen Poe which unless one is as deep into Poe land as Vollmann seems mindbogglingly confusing Many of the tales feature characters or are they real persons? it's impossible to tell mentioned in the opening story and this fact lends a superficial unity to the whole So also does the general idea of departure Have liked other books by Vollmann much than this one He is a fantastically gifted and imaginative writer but one whose monomanias demand much of the reader If you aren't always willing to pay the high toll of attention his prose reuires as I often wasn't in this case then this volume won't be for you


  10. says:

    What do Edgar Allen Poe skinheads sadists prostitutes mercenaries San Francisco Ford LTD's and John F Kennedy have in common? William T Vollmann of courseA fantastic collection featuring some old favorites You have bootwoman Marissa Ken Jenny et al alongside a new cast of characters including Poe that are sure to haunt your subconscious long after closing the last page What can I say? It's the logical continuation of The Rainbow Stories in many ways This is Vintage Vollmann Voodness What's not to love? I have to say that the Epitaphs are the real stars here To a one they are brutal beautiful miniaturesEpitaph for a Jaguar enters my personal Vollmann jukebox Perfection I have to cop to the fact that a few of them really tore me up but I'll let you enjoy these elegies for yourself without tainting your opinion with my own All of Vollmann's different stylistic 'idioms' are present 10 page paragraphs with writing so florid and gravity defying you swoon; declarative and stark vérité; bugfuck crazy pseudo Sci Fi; etc The way that WTV tailors his entire stylistic timbre to his subject matter may very well be my favorite thing about this master Today Ask me tomorrow and it'll be something else I've long drank the Kool Aid


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