Sunday, September 26, 2021

Typical by Padgett Powell


This slim anthology of stories was published in 1991.  Powell is probably best known for his novel, Edisto, published in 1984 and a finalist for the National Book Award.  These stories reflect his focus on life in the South although many are character sketches that could occur anywhere.  

The collection starts with longer stories; the book title Typical, Letter From A Dogfighter's Aunt, Deceased, and Irony.  The bulk of the book showcases very short stories, often no more than a page and a half.  The last story, titled The Winnowing Of Mrs Schuping, returns to the longer form and is my personal favorite.

Powell is highly praised by his peers but his stories might not find a wide audience in the general reader population.  The stories are full of irony and surrealism that makes them less approachable than many anthologies.  The shortness of many of the stories can leave the reader wanting more.  This book is recommended for anthology readers and those interested in exploration of the short story format.

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