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Contents

The gift bearer -- Story hour -- My imaginary father -- Matter of ages -- American gothic -- Funeral -- A San Francisco woman -- Donovan, the cat man -- The thumping of the grass -- Powers being himself -- Gerald's song -- Blather -- Mastodon's box.

Abstract

With a variety of themes and techniques, Philip F. O'Connor's stories progress in tone from hopeful to nearly hopeless; in subjects from communal to private; in milieu from personal to cosmic. The early stories, set in San Francisco, suggest Mr. O'Connor's Irish-American boyhood. Later stories sharply evoke the toughening experiences of adolescence. Finally, the stories enter an adult world where characters struggle desperately, often comically, in situations that are, at best, thinly hopeful.

From the opening stories, which display a more traditional realistic mode, the fiction moves into lyricism and other experimental prose, with a striking effect on the reader's consciousness. Mr. O'Connor skillfully uses language to activate the senses and to draw one into the characters.

His style alters with the demands of each story. “Each story has its own reasons and its own music,” the author says. The origins of his short stories are not ideas, but fascination with characters. “What people do is what interests me, and fiction is about that.”

Publication Title

Iowa School of Letters Award for Short Fiction

Award Date

1971

Judge

George P. Elliott

Publication Date

1971

Publisher

University of Iowa Press

City

Iowa City

Total Pages

186

ISBN of Print Version

9780877450238

Rights

Copyright © 1971 by Philip F. O'Connor. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording, without permission in writing from the publisher.