The late, great Alice Adams mastered the art of the short story. In the posthumous collection The Stories of Alice Adams, Adams masters something more significant in the genre--the backstory, the carefully realized context in which a story is able to unfold. In the 53 stories collected here, Adams moves effortlessly between the current thread of the situation and the past circumstances that allow it to happen in the first place. Nearly all of her carefully drawn characters look back at their lives, or at someone else's life, as if to reconstruct what makes a particular person unique. A group of friends awaits a newly widowed husband in "Waiting for Stella," and in their suppositions about his grief and tardiness, the dead woman comes back to life as a prominent character. Adams weaves youth, age, past, and present together seamlessly; she darts in and out of people's heads in a restaurant, as in "At the Beach," so that they wonder about each other thoroughly but never interact. In this stellar compilation, Adams revels in the glories and oddities of the human condition and distills the very essence of how we live. --Emily Russin
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November 2002 : USA Hardback
December 2003 : USA Paperback
June 2011 : USA, Canada Kindle edition