All the Days and Nights : The Collected Stories (Paperback)

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Product Overview

From the American Book Award-winning author of Ancestors and Time Will Darken comes a masterful collection of stories, spanning more than 50 years--a tour of a world that engages readers entirely, and whose characters command the deepest loyalty and tenderness.


Publisher Random House Inc
Mfg Part# 9780679761020
SKU 30118956
Format Paperback
ISBN10 0679761020
Release Date 11/1/1995
Dimensions (in Inches) 8.25H x 5.25L x 1T
Author Info
William Maxwell
Maxwell was a solitary child, and very close to his mother; she died in the 1918 influenza epidemic when he was 10 years old, an event that has colored much of his fiction. His young life was further disrupted when the family moved from the small town of Lincoln, Illinois, to Chicago when he was 14. These early years, he once said, provided "three-quarters of the material I would need for the rest of my writing life." He graduated from the University of Illinois and did a year of graduate work at Harvard, then went to work for The New Yorker, beginning at $35 a week in the art department but eventually becoming fiction editor, a post he kept for 40 years. In 1945, he married Emily Noyes, a schoolteacher, and the couple had two daughters. From 1967 to 1972 Maxwell was president of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. His short novel SO LONG, SEE YOU TOMORROW--probably his best book--won the National Book Award in 1980. Like nearly all his fiction, particularly his 1937 novel THEY CAME LIKE SWALLOWS, it is about the essential sadness of family life and the poignancy of loss. Maxwell spent much of his adult life living on New York City's Upper East Side, near the river. His wife died in July, 2000, and Maxwell followed her a week later. He was nearly 92 years old when he died, and had a productive writing life right to the end. In a 1997 article about old age and death, he wrote: "I tell myself that lying down to an afternoon nap that goes on and on through eternity is not something to be concerned about. What spoils this pleasant fancy is the recollection that when people are dead, they don't read books. This I find unbearable."
"[H]is own writing and characters have strained backwards, towards what came before--as if the remedy for the emptiness of adulthood and modern life were back there somewhere, only just out of reach. Only just, but always and crucially: more than memory, in fact, it is distance, or alientation, from our pasts and from the people around us, that is Maxwell's keynote and signature theme."
From the Publisher
Editors Note Representing more than fifty years of literary endeavor, a collection of short stories interweaves tales of the small Illinois town of Draperville at the turn of the century with other stories of city and town life. Reprint. 20,000 first printing.
Annotation Encompassing many themes evoking many emotions, William Maxwell's stories are told simply and directly. These 23 stories (plus a set of 21 "improvisations") were written over a span of 53 years. Many are autobiographical and set in early 20th-century Illinois; others take place in New York or Europe. Titles include "A Game of Chess" (1965), "Over by the River" (1974), "The Thistles in Sweden" (1976), "My Father's Friends" (1984), and "What He Was Like" (1992).
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