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Winesburg, Ohio (1919) is Sherwood Anderson's masterpiece, a cycle of short stories concerning life in a small town at the end of the nineteenth century. At the center is George Willard, a young reporter who becomes the confidant of the town's solitary figures. Anderson's stories influenced countless American writers including Hemingway, Faulkner, Updike, Oates and Carver.Winesburg, Ohio (1919) is Sherwood Anderson's masterpiece, a cycle of short stories concerning life in a small town at the end of the nineteenth century. At the center is George Willard, a young reporter who becomes the confidant of the town's solitary figures. Anderson's stories influenced countless American writers including Hemingway, Faulkner, Updike, Oates and Carver. This new edition corrects errors made in earlier editions and takes into account major criticism and textual scholarship of the last several decades....

Title : Winesburg, Ohio
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780192839770
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Winesburg, Ohio Reviews

  • karen
    2019-01-12 13:51

    zut, alors! i don't even know where to begin. i had such a complicated reaction to this book. am i the only person who didn't find this depressing?? this book is life - it is tender and gentle and melancholy and real. not everything works out according to plan here, but what ever does? that's not necessarily depressing, it's just a reality that can either be moped over and dwelled upon, or accepted and moved on from. this is the emotional truth of life - we don't understand our urges, we make bad decisions, we work hard to no great end and no one notices, but sherwood anderson noticed. this book is us - amplified. life gets all of us; it is the struggle to be understood, the struggle to not get lost in the crowd - to make a noise that someone hears. these characters are believed, cared for, delicately rendered by anderson to really get to the core of human shortcomings. i apologize in advance - this might become my most oddly formatted "book review" ever, just because i can't stop free-associating with the way i am feeling from this damn book that i didn't even like from the outset, but as the stories progressed, something in me kept brewing and growing and mutating, and now it is an unstoppable force in my heart-region.the plot is deceptively simple: it is a town full of people unable to express themselves properly clawing and clutching at the one person they feel has the power of expression and who will release them somehow from their mute longings and joys and limitations. and then in turn releasing him into the the wider world with all of their rage and suffering and love inside of him. my god, the pressure! i had to give it five stars because of how it made me feel at the end. the last sentence made me say (out loud, unfortunately) "oh my god, ridiculous", because it made the whole book perfect, despite several stories that i thought were only okay. but that's the trouble with short stories, even if they are part of a cycle like this - there are going to be some thin ones. but the ones that are good here are superfuckinggood. at the end of it all, it is like after reading dubliners or nine stories when this giant Dome of Connection just sort of drops over the whole thing, encapsulating it and preserving it as one exploration of the same problem - in this case, the spectacular inability to communicate and that sort of inarticulate mute howling we so often feel in the presence of emotions larger than ourselves; to know what to say, but to have it come out all wrong - too brassy, too wishy washy, or aggressive or too much bravado or too passive or pompous - just wrong... and then the aftermath of self-recrimination. i mean, we are all inarticulate grotesques sometimes; mine is appearing in the form of this book review.it's also this wonderful noble hopelessness that gives me the same feeling watching bubble gave me (which i think is also set in ohio - i will check) or the wayward bus, or donald harington's stay more cycle, or that oingo boingo song "sweat" which as a nostalgia song i always found more compelling than "jack and diane" or "summer of 69" as far as pure (north) american nostalgia songs go:The cool boys bit the dustThey couldn't take the pressureThe cool girls got knocked upThey only wanted to have fun(Where did they go?)They fell in love and suffered(Where did they go?)They picked up guns and hammers(Where did they go?) i mean, you can open this book pretty much anywhere, and find a beautiful phrase or a whole paragraph:-Only the few know the sweetness of the twisted apples.-"I want to fill you with hatred and contempt so that you will be a superior being."-"Let's take decay. Now what is decay? It's fire. It burns up wood and other things. You never thought of that? Of course not. This sidewalk here and this feed store, the trees down the street there - they're all on fire. They're burning up. Decay you see is always going on. It don't stop. Water and paint can't stop it. If a thing is iron, then what? It rusts, you see. That's fire, too. The world is on fire. Start your pieces in the paper that way. Just say in big letters 'the world is on fire.' That will make 'em look up. They'll say you're a smart one. I don't care. I don't envy you. I just snatched that idea out of the air. I would make a newspaper hum. You've got to admit that."-In an odd way he stood in the shadow of the wall of life, was meant to stand in the shadow. -It seemed to her that the world was full of meaningless people saying words.i mean, if i keep going, it will be nothing but quotes and none of you will ever have to read the book. but you should. because i have already reread several stories just to try to recapture it all inside of me, and this tiny little book has as many scraps of paper shoved in it as my prousts, just for well-turned phrases that gripped my heart.. it got me. i got it. makes me wanna werewolf at the moon a little...

  • s.p
    2019-01-22 14:57

    ‘Only the few know the sweetness of the twisted apples.’When you stop and listen, life is a brilliant cacophony of love and pain, where we are all struggling to shed the shackles of loneliness and stand full and actualized in a society that never bothers to truly look into our hearts. Sherwood Anderson’s gorgeous Winesburg, Ohio, which beautifully blurs the line between a collection of short stories and a novel, is a testament to the loneliness in our hearts, and delivers a pessimistic, yet ultimately uplifting, account of the ways in which we can be eternally trapped in internal strife by none other than our own hands. ‘Many people must live and die alone, even in Winesburg,’ Anderson writes, setting his tales within the comfortable boundaries of an idyllic small town—the type of quiet, peaceful place where everyone knows one another that are often glorified in early 20th century American literature—yet diving deep within the populations hearts to examine the depths of solitude and sorrow that exist in even the most idealized and comfortable of surroundings. This book came to me at what seemed like the exact time in which I could appreciate it to the fullest, a time when presenting the golden core of existance through montages of melancholy and sorrow would be the perfect way to take hold of my heart and lift me free of my own burdens and into literary bliss. Despite the increasing ability to interact on a global scale during which the book is set, the citizens of Winesburg find themselves trapped in a cage of internal anguish and alienation of their own design, and seek out those with the true creative capabilities to express the emotions they cannot manage to make plain, and Anderson delivers their stories of struggle and strife through his unflinching, connected short stories that culminate towards a dazzling depiction of the human condition.There is something very modern about this slim novel published back in 1919, yet it retains that wonderfully nostalgic feeling that come alive in me when I read the works of authors such as Steinbeck and Faulkner, a feeling as peaceful as the a warm summers day from your childhood that makes you believe your own coming-of-age tales are as epic as the words printed upon the pages of novels that stand as monuments in the history of literature. For some reason, stories set in small towns during the early 1900s really make my heart sing out to the heavens, and with Anderson conducting the orchestra, it sings out in mighty rapture. Yet, considering the introductory story, ‘The Book of the Grotesque’, Anderson preforms a magic act of near metafiction that makes his style as poignant today as when it was first written by hinting that the book to come is merely the unpublished scribblings of an aging who only wishes to watch the sunlight brighten the trees outside his bedroom window. Anderson immediately reveals his hand, yet this does not diminish the potency in his every move but simply allows the reader to better appreciate each glorious depiction of sorrowful existence.[I]n the beginning when the world was young there were a great many thoughts but no such thing as a truth. Man made the truths himself and each truth was a composite of a great many vague thoughts. All about in the world were the truths and they were all beautiful…And then the people came along. Each as he appeared snatched up one of the truths and some who were quite strong snatched up a dozen of them. It was the truths that made the people grotesques….the moment one of the people took one of the truths to himself, called it his truth, and tried to live his life by it, he became a grotesque and the truth he embraced became a falsehood.The first story is the Genesis of the novel to come, the creation story behind the people who stumble about in futility as they attempt to connect with one another and make themselves understood, so trapped within their image of the ‘truth’ that they cannot create outside its boundaries.Speaking of futility, I do not posses the adequate gifts of analytical prose to sum up Anderson’s mighty message as this succinctly cutting passage from Ernest Boyd’s incredible introduction to my 1947 Modern Library Edition:It is essentially a literature of revolt against the great illusion of American civilization, the illusion of optimism, with all its childish evasion of harsh facts, its puerile cheerfulness, whose inevitable culmination is the school of “glad” books, which have reduced American literature to the lowest terms of sentimentality.Anderson exposes life in its raw form, without the opportunity to comb its hair or apply makeup, and by avoiding the convenience of administering external interference as justification for a characters shortcomings, implies that many of our defects and dilemmas are wrought by our own hands. Failure to adequately express ourselves through socially acceptable conventions is the foible that forces us into emotional isolation and existential angst, most openly diagrammed in the character of Wing Biddlebaum who’s hands and their flamboyant flailing or easy rest upon the shoulders of young boys cause him to be run out of town and spend his twilight years wandering the streets of Winesburg beset by bitter solitude ¹. There is the epic, biblical in nature as well as biblically influenced², tale of Jesse Bently attempting to assert his godliness only to be met with misunderstanding and horror by his grandchild (with the gloriously executed, tragic subplot of his daughters tearful life as her attempts to proclaim love result in an unsatisfactory, face-saving marriage of convenience); Alice Williams nude flight through the town in an effort to free herself from the promise to wait for a man that will never return to her—a promise that robs her of her golden years as she withers in loneliness—; Seth Richmonds efforts to win Helen White’s heart by proclaiming he is leaving town in hopes it will make her realize how his absence will inflict misery upon her, but then having to leave before the opportunity of love can blossom; and a whole slew of others damned by their own attempts to carve their mark into the history of Winesburg. The futility of the townsfolk to make their hearts heard is what gives George Willard, a teenage journalist at the local newspaper—the Eagle, and seemingly the pride-and-joy of Winesburg³, a central role within the book. George figures in a majority of the stories and, aside from the town, serves as the thread connecting each story. George is a figure of creation, a figure who can take a life and immortalize it within the words printed in the newspaper, so each member of the town is drawn to him during their lowest hour, only able to provide a clear depiction of their soul and struggles to him. Kate Swift, his former teacher (whose nude form inspires a holy revelation within the local preacher), recognizes this and her lust for him is a reflection of her desires to make whole the fractured souls that haunt society and she is drawn to him by his literary potential to do so. She tells George that in order to become a writer he will have to know life…It would be better to give up the notion of writing until you are better prepared. Now it’s the time for living. I don’t want to frighten you, but I would like to make you understand the import of what you think of attempting. You must not become a mere peddler of words. The thing to learn is to know what people are thinking about, not what they say.Anderson’s novel is an exquisite expression of this sentiment, and it is only through their late-night/drunken/bitter/etc. confessions to, or interactions with, George that we can see through the veils of grotesqueries to flowering souls within. Winesburg had disappeared and his life there had become but a background on which to paint the dreams of his manhood.Through the book’s frequent glimpses at George’s maturation, a sort of bildungsroman is erected. Carefully placed not in the forefront of the novel, as a book bent on sentimentality would have it, but subtly omnipresent and lurking in the background, Anderson is able to employ all the emotionally stimulating and memorable aspects assigned to the coming-of-age tale without letting its warm glow overpower the real message at hand. In effect, this becomes a literary coming-of-age for the reader with Winesburg as the canvas upon which the realization of the human condition is splattered. Through George we learn what hides in the human heart, and through George we grow to empathize with our fellow man. Like many others, George inevitably leaves Winesburg to pursue his dreams, and hopefully, unlike the rest, he will achieve them. The characters try in many ways to escape the mundane and stagnant town, often seeing Helen White as the way out. Even George seeks after her, winning her fancy under the pretext of understanding love so he can write about it in a novel. To the males of Winesburg, Helen and and her wealthy family represent a way out, a higher goal of sophistication and sensuality. However, most fail to win her hand, much like those who leave Winesburg fail to achieve their glory and riches. Perhaps, despite the meaningfulness of our unique coming-of-age moments, we fail to bring our lessons learned into adulthood and falter at the alter of life. We must properly express ourselves and let our creative powers grow to the heavens, not keep them locked up as does Enoch Robinson, slowly slipping into madness within the confines of his New York apartment speaking with the idealized imaginary friends that replace his friends of flesh-and-blood, foibles and blunders. Winesburg, Ohio is a war-cry for literature, rising bloodied and sullied from the trenched, unashamed to be seen in such a dark and animalistic state, to plunge it’s bayonet through the ribcage of fictions that would glorify humanity while sweeping any inconvenient ugliness under the rug. Anderson sets his book near the turn of the century, at a time when human interaction was expanding beyond the borders of a small town to a national, and even globalized state. Trains and telegraph wires opened the gates of transportation and communication, bringing everyone closer together regardless of physical distance. Ironically, during this booming era of national headline news, we witness characters feeling evermore isolated and alienated. This message is just as darkly poignant in todays world with the ever-booming social media that allows us to interact instantly and make our every action known to people across the globe, yet many are still beleaguered with a sense of loneliness. Regardless of the ease of communication, it is still just as difficult to make ourselves properly understood, and even sentences typed onto a blog with the warmest of intentions can be misconstrued, ignored, or taken out of context. Can we truly express who we are to anyone? You can only understand me as your perspective of me, as I in turn can only understand myself through my perspective of myself, and express myself in a manner in which I think best reflects me, but is any of this, even the culmination of all these perspectives, the true ‘me’? Can we really know each other, and can we really know ourselves? Winesburg, Ohio is easily one of my favorite books. This book makes you want to pay attention to all those around you, get to know them, recognize why they are the way they are, all just so you can show them the kindness and love they need. Like the Knights of Columbus and their pocket sized New Testaments at my beloved alma mater, I want to stand outside the doors of every major university and pass out copies of this book (did this happen at anyone else’s school? I still have a few New Testaments thumping around in the trunk of my car). Anderson’s prose, which is reminiscent of the greatest descriptive paragraphs found within a Steinbeck novel (of whom he was an influence upon, as well as Faulkner, Hemmingway, and even Donald Ray Pollock’s Knockemstiff style was inspired by this book), perfectly captures both the beauty and the blemishes of life and paints an unforgettable portrait of the city’s downtown and pastoral scenes. The book is a marvelous montage of reality, becoming greater than the sum of its parts and striking a chord deep within the readers heart that rings out on a universal level. Upon completion, it is as if you have lived a lifetime within Winesburg, and each passing citizen is an old friend. Luckily, there is room within Anderson’s Winesburg for us all.5/5Dare to be strong and courageous. That is the road. Venture anything. Be brave enough to dare to be loved. Be something more than man or woman.¹ The fact that Wing is unaware of the circumstances that lead to his being beaten by the drunken barkeep and chased out of town—the unhinged mouth of a youth with unfounded stories of being molested by his teacher—makes the story all that much more tragic, especially as he is embarrassed and horrified by his expressive hands in a nearly Pavlovian sense. The sexual implications of this story, as well as the general sexuality that prevails throughout Winesburg, Ohio is just another aspect that lends to the very modern feel to this classic.² There is a subtle probing at religious morality throughout the novel, that often borders on poking fun at those with strong religious conviction. Though not in the Flannery O’Connor method of exposing those with publicly professed holiness as presenting their beliefs as a façade to hide their rotten core, yet still somehow within the same vein, Anderson presents holiness as yet another truth that if held onto as a singular lifeline casts the individual into the realm of grotesquery. ‘The world is on fire’, Joe Wellington tells George Willard, insisting upon that as a valuable article to include in an upcoming edition of the Eagle, ‘s sidewalk here and this feed store, the trees down the street there—they’re all on fire. They’re burning up. Decay you see is always going on. It doesn’t stop.’ Anderson’s novel is about decay within the soul, and even holiness is just another decaying agent where the only antidote is achieved by looking into one another’s hearts and responding with empathy and love.³ George Willard’s family owns a boarding house in the center of town where many of the characters either live or frequent. This is similar to Anderson’s own upbringing living in a boarding house in Clyde, Ohio (Anderson’s fictional Winesburg is heavily influenced by his boyhood home of Clyde, Ohio, resembling many of the locals as well as the geographic nature and arrangement and is in no way representative of the actual city of Winesburg, Ohio). George’s residence there gives him the opportunity to view the comings and goings of many townsfolk and allows them easy access to vomit up their life stories into George’s ears.

  • Michael
    2018-12-23 15:58

    A beautiful, melancholy song to small-town loneliness and despair--to the fragile bonds that tie neighbors together and the vivid lives and heartfelt personal dramas that pulse beneath the surface of ordinary affairs. This was once a book I carried with me everywhere, a book I tried (and failed) to emulate in my own writing, and a book whose sentences I'd whisper to myself to catch something of their hypnotic cadences. It's easy to see how influential this book was on so much American literature: from Hemingway to Faulkner to Thomas Wolfe to Updike, they (and we) all owe Sherwood Anderson a tremendous debt for opening up the possibilities of fiction in a uniquely American landscape.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2018-12-25 12:53

    Winesburg, Ohio: A Group of Tales of Ohio Small-Town Life, Sherwood Anderson تاریخ نخستین خوانش: دوازدهم نوامبر سال 2006 میلادیعنوان: کتاب عجایب: واینزبرگ اوهایو؛ نویسنده: شروود آندرسن؛ مترجم: روحی افسر؛ ویراستار: شهرام شیدایی؛ تهران، نیلوفر، 1383؛ در 247 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1384؛ موضوع: داستانهای کوتاه از نویسندگان امریکایی - قرن 20 معنوان: واینزبورگ اهایو؛ نویسنده: شروود اندرسن؛ مترجم: فرانک جواهری؛ تهران، نشر نیماژ، 1395؛ در 216 ص؛ شابک: 9786003672772؛ واینزبرگ، اوهایو منطقه‌ ای ست در حال دگرگونی، و آندرسن در این کتاب زندگی آدم‌های واقعی همین شهر خیالی را روایت می‌کند؛ زندگی آدمهایی که هر روز به سر کار خویش میروند، فرزند خود را دوست میدارند، آدم‌هایی که محروم به دنیا می‌آیند، ناکام زندگی میکنند، و هماره در حسرت آن چیزهایی هستند که نمی‌توانند داشته باشند. بنابراین راهی ندارند جز پناه بردن به تنهایی و خیال‌بافی. زندگی بحرانی آدم‌هایی که خرافات، کوته بینی و ناتوانی روحی به آن دامن میزند، ...؛ آندرسن را نویسنده ی نویسنده ها نامیده اند؛ ایشان از نویسندگان عصر طلایی داستان کوتاه در آمریکا به شمار می‌روند. آندرسن را پدر داستان‌ نویسی مدرن آمریکا می‌دانند. داستان‌های اندرسون روایت زندگی طبقه متوسط جامعه ی آمریکا، و به ویژه آدم‌های حاشیه ی اجتماع است. آدم‌هایی محروم و ناکام که گزینشی جز تنهایی و خیال‌بافی ندارند؛ ... ا. شربیانی

  • Camille Stein
    2019-01-22 12:59

    «El amor es como un viento que agita la hierba debajo de los árboles en una noche oscura—le había dicho—. No debe usted tratar de convertirlo en algo definido. Es un accidente divino que ocurre a veces en la vida. Si trata usted de definirlo y tenerlo por seguro y de vivir bajo los árboles, donde sopla la suave brisa nocturna, llegará enseguida el largo día del desengaño y la seca polvareda que levantan los carros cubrirá los labios inflamados por los besos».Lo que volvía grotesca a la gente eran las verdades. El anciano tenía una teoría muy elaborada al respecto. En su opinión, siempre que alguien se apropiaba de una verdad, la llamaba su verdad y trataba de regir su vida por ella, se convertía en un ser grotesco y la verdad que había abrazado se transformaba en una falsedad.… Narración de vivencias secretas, de oscuros y diáfanos vínculos, ‘Winesburg, Ohio’ constituye un acercamiento delicado, sutil, poético y en ocasiones también brutal y descarnado, a unos personajes que nunca dejamos de amar (cómo olvidar, por ejemplo, al doctor Reefy y su relación con Elizabeth Willard). Galería de locos y cuerdos, de sabiduría y necedad, seres que hacen de sus privadas alegrías y recónditos padecimientos la cumbre de la heroicidad, testigos callados que habitan (en apariencia) mundos tan estridentes como vacuos y triviales, a la vez que en su interior saborean la ‘dulzura de las manzanas arrugadas’. Tomando prestadas las palabras de Wing Biddlebaum (maestro y peón): un libro para tratar de olvidar lo que se ha aprendido, para empezar de nuevo. Para soñar.

  • Fabian
    2019-01-04 13:38

    Holy Moley! Virginia Woolf finds the very caverns leading to hell. Anderson makes miscellaneous dips in the very depths of actual fire... the residents of Winesburg all live there. They are the ghosts of the living. Anecdotes in Winesburg (devoid of time or protagonist) are juicy with implication and horrific details. They are grave, all of them portends of certain annihilation and the never-ending stasis of existence. What you will see in this unforgettable experiment and ONE OF THE BEST NOVELS out there (where for the first time it is proposed that literature itself is dangerous, that printed material can be lethal): traumas, superstition and tradition; downfalls, nepotism, patricide, misogyny, incest, homosexuality, false promises and doom--examples of mothers going through her son's things in the sure makings of the Norman Bates legend--motifs of hands, of mothers, of homecomings, of back alleys & apes (like Flannery O'Connor's "Wise Blood"), surplus of churches, of nature itself (birds & bats) in rebellion--moments of intense rapture in full Joan of Arc scariness--characters creating themselves, in that tricky but amazing Quixotean trick.This trippy and soul-churning fantasia is a true EXPERIENCE. The narrative voice is poetic & almost clinical about the characters themselves & judgmental & even ultimately playful. The vignettes are twisted morals, cautionary tales. Mega Brilliant."ONLY THE FEW KNOW THE SWEETNESS OF THE TWISTED APPLES..." I mean, c'mon! The reader is a sucker for fully loaded sentences like that one (this book is entirely composed of 'em). Why hadn't I heard of this, the epicenter of post-nineteenth century experimental postmodernism?

  • Paquita Maria Sanchez
    2019-01-14 19:54

    AKA: Goddamn you, George WillardMy apologies to you, goodreads bandwagon...you're going to have to make room for one more. This book is bittersweet like therapy, like sweating out a lifetime's worth of drugs and drink in a mentholly sauna-room, like looking through a photo album from a decade or so ago when you thought you knew who you were but you had no idea...and still probably don't. Well, neither do the folks in Winesburg, Ohio. I loved, sympathized with and related to each individual, even down to that pervy preacher who just needs to get over that Jesus shit and let himself wank it guilt-free. His voyeuristic position is a perfect illustration of how it feels to read this series of shorts...like you're crouched in a dark room peeping across the way into the windows of each character and using your Sookie Stackhouse powers to penetrate their most personal of personal thoughts. Their most glorious private poetry and most hideous self-obsession. To put it simply, Sherwood Anderson knows a motherfucker. He's so sharp, he could read an 8-point font from across a gymnasium. He'll read you, too, if you let him. I love you, Sherwood, Robin Hood-y name and all. This is one for the short list of books I will read again, disregarding my general motto of "so many books, so little time." I've got all the time in the world for you, Sherry Baby.*Recommended to anyone who has or will ever wonder what Flannery O'Connor would've written on a vacation up north under the influence of a low-dose of Prozac.

  • Ben
    2019-01-09 19:04

    Fuck, I loved this book...I loved its drab mood, and existential feel.I loved the descriptive writing, and the small town, midwest setting, with the seasons and people changing, but life in general, staying the same.I loved the wild brilliance to the endings.More than anything, and what made this novel truly special to me, was its insight into the raw emotions and psychological underpinnings of people's inner worlds. Reading this felt like peering into human nature.I loved the depth of characters; their being out of place, hoping, secretly yearning for more. Heck yeah, they have crises going on -- we all do, and we gain from learning from the particular personal crises told of in this book. A main reason for this is exactly because most of these characters are different. To use Sherwood's word, they're "grotesques". Even the characters that seem normal to the rest of the community are actually stewing with emotion deep inside. I'm going to get personal here for a second. I've been a grotesque. It's true. When I was in high school my face was covered in acne and so red from massive dosages of Accutane, I looked like a freak. I'm not exaggerating; it was so bad it made me an outcast for more than a year. During that time I was withdrawn, paranoid, I thought of death and God constantly; I lost most of my friends, and what new friends I had were mostly, yes, also grotesques. But guess what? I wouldn't trade that period of time for anything in the entire world. I'm convinced that that period of time; that 1/27th of my life, is responsible for 90% of any depth I have in me today. The new perceptions obtained, the insights into human nature that came to me, the range of emotions I felt, were all priceless gifts to my soul. And that my friends, is the affect that the characters in this novel can have on you. There's a feeling of hopelessness to this book, yes; but it's a realistic one, and it's not completely hopeless. In every page a feeling penetrates through indicating that despite life's worthless existence, we can make something of it; we can find meaning, or some kind of connection with another. It may not work out, but there's something special to the struggle itself. All those disappointing endings to the stories of your life don't make you rare; they make you human. This novel helps you take comfort in that.Two more things.It seems that men tend to like this book more than women. I say this just from reading reviews and looking at my goodreads friends list, so I could be wrong. But... of the 16 male GR friends that read Winesburg, Ohio, the ratings were spread out like this:1 star: 02 stars: 13 stars: 24 stars: 65 stars: 7Average: 4.19Only seven females from my friend list read this (and my GR friends are about 50% female). Their ratings were spread out like this:1 star: 12 stars: 23 stars: 15 stars: 3Average: 3.29The three 5 star ratings by females is damn encouraging, and there's some damn good 4 and 5 star reviews by females on goodreads, as well. BUT, most of the 1 and 2 star reviews are from females, too, so there does seem to be a trend. So... if you're male, I can't NOT recommend this to you; if not from judging by the star ratings, then from my own personal experience, which makes me want to shout out my love for the book from the window of my apartment. I'll do it! And females, I think you should at least give this a shot, because there's a decent chance that you could love it too. Maybe read the first few chapters and see what you think; you should know if it's for you or not, by then.Lastly, I want to thank David, whose amazing -- and now, after having read the novel, in my mind, perfect -- review of this, inspired me to buy it; this book that I will read at least every few years for as long as I can read. Goodreads enriches my life once again. Thank you, David. Check out his review, here.

  • David
    2019-01-21 15:51

    Winesburg, Ohio, is certainly the geographical ancestor of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, Washington, and Lumberton, North Carolina (Blue Velvet) -- not so much for its omens of severed ears and one-armed men, but for its wealth of turbulent emotion (e.g., rage, despair, lust, contempt... all the good ones, really) concealed behind a picturesque scrim of small town American life. Yeah, the shopworn theme of middle class American repression has been done to death -- Sam Mendes’s American Beauty may have seemed its trite little death knell -- but the masters always manage to make it fresh and insightful. And let’s not forget, naysayers, that Sherwood Anderson published this, his masterpiece, in 1919. That’s right. Ninety years ago, and I guarantee that it’s a helluva lot more modern, in language and sensibility, than some of the stuff being written today. If it weren’t for the talk of carriages and Butch Wheeler lighting the street lamps, you might not even guess at its age at all. It’s had literary Botox or something. One of my new favorite books of all time, Winesburg, Ohio is also the longest shortest book I have ever read in my life... which isn’t to say that it’s tedious or verbose or difficult, but that each short story in this compilation of character sketches about Winesburg residents contains so incredibly much, that the emotional weight of three or four of them in one sitting is enough or is as much as human empathy will tolerate. Make no mistake... The people of Winesburg are, for the most part, pretty fucking miserable. I ain’t kidding you: the lion’s share of them are privately contending with some deep sense of loss or regret or dissatisfaction which they are -- or merely feel -- powerless to overcome. I mean, just take a good look at a few of ‘em: Wing Bindlebaum lugs around the (unfounded) rumors of his pedophilia, keeping him from expressing himself freely; Elizabeth Willard suffers from marrying her cold, neglectful husband Tom because 'he was at hand and wanted to marry at the time when the determination to marry came to her' (ah, romance!); Elmer Crowley is so obsessed with the fear of being perceived as strange (or 'queer' in the original sense of the term), that he makes of himself the most inexplicable town oddity; and Alice Hindman, who I think is the saddest one of all (no small feat), saves herself for a man who has left town and forgotten her and lies in bed at night 'turning her face to the wall [and:] trying to force herself to face bravely the fact that many people must live and die alone, even in Winesburg.' Wow is right. There are some pretty baroque -- not to say bleak -- interior lives inhabiting these plain and simple-seeming folk. Because the narrative component in these stories is only a means to illustrate -- no, not illustrate -- transmit these inner lives to the reader, I think it’s fairer to call them vignettes. Regardless of seasons, characters, and particulars, each one transpires in a gauzy-golden-late-autumnal-Bergmanesque-twilit-dream-state. We see too opaquely into the psychological interiority for this to be hard-and-fast realism. We experience these vignettes primarily as auras, moods, and eulogies. Sherwood Anderson’s use of language in Winesburg, Ohio is definitely worth mentioning because it feels profoundly unique. Yeah, sure, his sparse, colloquial prose is a kindred spirit of sorts with Gertrude Stein’s and Ernest Hemingway’s, but it’s certainly not neat or easy. What I mean is that, just because the bulk of the words are elementary, monosyllabic, it doesn’t follow that the reader glides effortlessly over the prose. Anderson often tosses in non-sequiturs, layered abstractions, mysterious phrases, and clunky rhythms to keep his readers fully engaged. Nestled within the simple, matter-of-fact narration in 'Death,' for instance, we find these two sentences: In the big empty office the man and the woman sat looking at each other and they were a good deal alike. Their bodies were different as were also the color of their eyes, the length of their noses and the circumstances of their existence, but something inside them meant the same thing, wanted the same release, would have left the same impression on the memory of an onlooker.Incredible. 'Something inside them meant the same thing.' That little verb, dispatched in an unfamiliar and enigmatic way, makes the sentence. Rather than feeling or thinking the same way, the two shared a significance. What does that mean exactly? You can almost grasp it or catch a glimpse of it out of the corner of your eye, but it’s one of those things you need to feel to really understand. I also can’t help but love the serial parity of eyes, noses, and existences in the second sentence. There’s a beautiful awkwardness in that phrase that quietly thrills me. (Yes, I’ll own my literary geekiness. It thrills me... and, now, no longer quietly!) Winesburg, Ohio is only the nineteenth book I’ve added to my literary Valhalla, otherwise known as my 'pants-crapping-awesome' bookshelf. It is a rare and beautiful thing, and I am still wondering if you realize how much I loved it... If not, call me at home and I’ll tell you all about it.

  • Jacob
    2018-12-27 14:03

    July 2010Hey, Winesburg, Ohio. You got a minute? There’s something I want to talk to you about.Look, we’ve been reading each other for a few weeks now, and I think we’ve both had a good time. I’m glad we decided to move slowly. You’re a collection of short stories and, however linked those stories were, I wanted to take the time to appreciate each one. It seemed like the right thing to do. And it was. You're an amazing book, full of passion and life, an old-fashioned kind of gal. Really charming......But, as you've probably noticed, something isn't right. I haven't been completely attentive to your needs, and I've been really distracted lately--heck, there were those times I disappeared for days at a time--and this past week seemed, well, a bit rushed, like I was trying to make up for something. I know you're confused. But I want you to know you've done nothing wrong. Thing is--well, thing is, there's something important I need to tell you:I’ve been reading other books.Honestly, Winesburg, Ohio, it’s not you, it’s me. Really. I’m not really a one-book kind of guy. I’m sorry, I know, I know, I should have told you before we got together, but--well--I’m not really good at being exclusive. I like variety. You might even say I'm polybiblioamorous, if that's even a proper term. It’s just who I am. And the other books I was reading the same time we were together--there were a few, I’m sorry, I shouldve said something--but those other books, they were, they were just so powerful. I was with Palimpsest for a bit--that actually ended a little after I met you, but man, she was kinky. Then I was with The Dervish House--that one was just so worldly, so wise beyond its years, but adventurous and fun, too. Then there was Uncommon Carriers--we didn’t actually do anything, it was more of a cerebral thing, if you know what I mean--and I just got out a long relationship with Mining the Sky, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the future...I’m with Kraken now. Not really sure what I see in him, but he has a good soul. I think he can change.Oh, god, don’t cry. Please don’t cry. This isn't your fault. I like books--I like them a lot--and I just can't settle for one at a time. I should have told you. I just thought I could just pick you up and have some fun on the side, enjoy you a little before moving on to the next collection, but that didn't work. There's something special about you. Really, there is, and I was so caught up with those other books that I just didn't see it until it was too late. You're this charming small-town book in a world of big-city stories, and I took you for granted. That wasn't fair at all, I know. I'm sorry. And I want to make it up to you, but...but I think it might be too late for that.I think we need some time apart. Really, please, listen to me. I think this is for the best. You're a special gal, and you deserve a reader who can fully appreciate you, and that just isn't me right now. I want to reread you sometime--I really do!--and I think that someday, maybe, there will come a time where I'm not reading anything else and it can be just the two of us, together. Now is just a bad time for me. Kraken is this big stubborn oaf, but I kinda like him. And I like you, too, and I want to read you again, if you'll let me. Someday.Do you...do you think we can try that, Winesburg, Ohio?Winesburg, Ohio?Winesburg, Ohio?Please, come back! I'm...I'm sorry...I...Bad news, Knockemstiff, looks like that threesome won't be happening after all.

  • Darwin8u
    2019-01-15 14:37

    "I wanted to run away from everything but I wanted to run towards something too. Don't you see, dear, how it was?"-- Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, OhioThis is one of those important novels I would have probably passed over or missed if Sherwood Anderson wasn't mentioned in so many lists--and if so many authors I admire (Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck, O'Connor, McCarthy) didn't mention (or perhaps not mention, but just shadow) him as an influence or inspiration. There is something beautiful about every single sentence that Anderson writes. Some of the stories in 'Winesburg, Ohio' (Death, Loneliness, the Strength of God, Godliness, and Adventure) were nearly perfect. Others, while they might not have hit me as hard as those five, were still almost uniformly beautiful and interesting. Like waves beating rhythmically against a wall, Anderson's stories seemed to gently deliver a message from the universe of the grotesque. Ideas of isolation, loneliness, love and the need to reach out to others (to find love or understanding) float from one story to the next and weave the various plots of the twenty-two short stories together. 'Winesburg, Ohio' is a great piece of American fiction and an amazing piece of 2oth century art.

  • Kim
    2019-01-18 13:02

    Okay, fine, I didn't like it. I believe I had a crisis of faith whilst reading Winesburg, Ohio. One of the bestest reasons for GR is that I've been exposed to writers that I'd never heard of and to reviews that made me sit up and say 'To the library, NOW' and I really wanted to believe that I'd benefit from reading this. I really did. So, uh... what went wrong? Where is this crisis of faith? Okay, maybe not faith---maybe foundation is a better word. See, I always sort of thought of myself as an equal opportunity hater, you know in the whole misogyny/misandry angle was never my thing. But, as I read Winesburg, I started to understand why Valerie Solanas penned her manifesto.Okay, that's a bit harsh. I admit. But, still I don't like going there and unfortunately dear Sherwood made me question my misanthropy. There are just a handful of women in Winesburg. I couldn't find one that I felt was justifiably written, in the sense of being 'real'... and represented. You have Elizabeth Willard, who has such a chip on her shoulder and such regret that she declares such statements as 'If I am dead and see him becoming a meaningless drab figure like myself, I will come back...I ask God now to give me that privilege. I demand it. I will pay for it. God may beat me with his fists. I will take any blow that may befall if but this my boy be allowed to express something for both of us.” Way to go, Mom. So, she sits in her room with her son and they don't talk and it's awkward and does she say anything to George? Tell him how she has faith in him, thinks he's this great force to be reckoned with? (Bit, of an Elektra complex, maybe?) No... but she was dang passionate about it. Then there's Louise Trunnion who is supposed to drop everything to walk with George (I begin to think here that has a bit of an ego thing going on... one of those qualities that just make me want to kick him in the shin, btw) and you know as Sherwood writes "She was not particularly comely and there was a black smudge on the side of her nose. George thought she must have rubbed her nose with her finger after she had been handling some of the kitchen pots.”Good old woman's work, thanks for taking one for the team, Weezie. But, hey she puts out... so we can forgive her lack of comeliness. We've got Alice Hindman and her Adventure. You know, being used and thrown out by Ned Currie before he moved to Cleveland and bigger and better places East. She just knows that he'll be back, right? I mean, she was a weaver of carpets... such a catch. But, you know... years pass and she starts to feel like the spinster she has become and decides one night to run naked in the rain. ”She thought that the rain would have some creative and wonderful effect on her body. Not for years had she felt so full of youth and courage. She wanted to leap and run, to cry out, to find some other lonely human and embrace him. On the brick sidewalk before the house a man stumbled homeward. Alice started to run. A wild, desperate mood took possession of her. 'What do I care who it is. He is alone, and I will go to him,' she thought; and then without stopping to consider the possible result of her madness, called softly. 'Wait!' she cried. 'Don't go away. Whoever you are, you must wait.' The man on the sidewalk stopped and stood listening. He was an old man and somewhat deaf. Putting his hand to his mouth, he shouted. 'What? What say?' he called. Alice dropped to the ground and lay trembling.” So, instead of snagging Brad Pitt she ends up with Red Skelton. We have Tom Hard's daughter. Doomed with a calling and a new name before her 6th birthday. She lives in this pit of a town with her faithless dad and a stranger passing through gets drunk and ”...he dropped to his knees on the sidewalk and raised the hands of the little girl to his drunken lips. He kissed them ecstatically. 'Be Tandy, little one,' he pleaded 'Dare to be strong and courageous. That is the road. Venture anything. Be brave enough to dare to be loved. Be something more than man or woman. Be Tandy.'” Uh... 'Tandy' (stripper name???) be a good girl and go talk to Alice and Elizabeth and see what your future REALLY looks like, kay?Then there's Kate Swift. The 'teacher'. Yes, poor Kate... peeped on by the local clergyman as she reads and smokes cigarettes on a Sunday. Sinner. Poor Kate who is crushing hard on her former studly student, George. Who so wants to pull a Pam Smart except you know, she's not married and lives with her elderly aunt and all. ”At the age of thirty Kate Swift was not known in Winesburg as a pretty woman. Her complexion was not good and her face was covered with blotches that indicated ill health. Alone in the night in the winter streets she was lovely.”But, you know... after her wretched action of throwing herself at her former student she goes home and undresses and throws herself on her bed crying, beating her pillow and then begins to pray. So, of course good old peeping Minister Curtis is redeemed because Kate's become an instrument of God, bearing the message of truth.”. Yeah, that's it.Okay... so where am I going with all this? Who the fuck knows. I just know what I'm feeling and that's pissed off. And I'm pissed off that I'm pissed off. I'm not THAT person that finds the nitpicky crap and whines about it, you know? Like I said, the world is my dumpster. I don't see what the big deal is with this book. Maybe I'm missing out, obviously I am if I look at my friend's reviews of this. I did find it rather amusing that most of the ravings belonged to my male friends... hmmm... Maybe it was the whole 'this book represents Middle America' angle and well, I'm not all that interested in Middle America. But, I can't say that I'm all that blown away with the 'complex human beings whose portraits, rendered in Anderson's masterful prose, brought American literature into the modern age.' (back cover) So what, it was written in 1919. I don't think it was some great revelation that people make it out to be. Honestly... if I was interested in pre-industrial suburbia and it's dreariness, I'd read some Emily Dickinson. But, that's just me. Okay, I'm ready for the barrage... maybe.

  • Emily May
    2019-01-11 18:51

    4.5I apologise for my lack of originality, but I need to steal karen's perfect summarisation of this book: "this book is life - it is tender and gentle and melancholy and real. not everything works out according to plan here, but what ever does?"There is no better way to put it than that. Winesburg, Ohio is a collection of short stories about the inhabitants of the small town of Winesburg, it is a very real story about the lives of "normal" people. Those people who work hard every day of their lives and never get rewarded for their dedication. Those who pray each day for the one thing they've always wanted... only to remain disappointed. Those who are sad and broken from having never been loved as a child, those who were never good enough for the people in their lives. This little book captures so many emotions in just over 250 pages: pain, happiness, fear, want, greed, sadness, frustration...This book is filled with beautiful, quotable writing and the last line is one of the best finishing lines I've ever read. It just adds that cherry on top of this sundae and left me feeling a whirlwind of emotions. As does the whole book. Sherwood uses the short story method to explore different styles of story-telling when dealing with different characters in this small town. For example, the second story in the book is called Hands and tells the tale of Wing Biddlebaum through his hands that have inspired emotions from wonder to hatred in the hearts of the people he has known in his life. "The story of Wing Biddlebaum is a story of hands. Their restless activity, like unto the beating of the wings of an imprisoned bird, had given him his name."Another example of Sherwood's experimentation with styles that I really liked was in Godliness: A Tale in Four Parts. In this, the author tells the story of a family from the point of view of different family members and your opinion of the characters change with each one you read. At first, Louise is a selfish and argumentative woman who neglects her son and is prone to fits of anger or alternatively periods of withdrawal and silence. But then Sherwood switches perspective to allow for understanding: "Before such women as Louise can be understood and their lives made livable, much will have to be done. Thoughtful books will have to be written and thoughtful lives lived by people about them." Because Louise was not born with rage and frustration inside her, it was put there by life and others who failed her. Sherwood's portrait of a woman at this time and the limits put upon her because she is a woman and not a man is sad and somewhat ahead of its time.I really wanted to give this five stars and I almost did, but I held back from doing so when I paused to look back over the book and realised the quality of some stories is far greater than others and it was the stronger stories that were tempting me to rate higher. But readers of short story collections often acknowledge that this is frequently the case and I don't want to put you off reading this. It's hard not to be touched by the realities these people faced and I think this would be the perfect opportunity to compare with The Casual Vacancy - another book about the lives of people in a small, quiet town and how they are not as calm and gentle as one may be tempted to believe.I want to make this comparison because I tried to read Rowling's adult novel and found myself too bored to continue. So I inevitably started to believe that this was down to the subject matter and the subtle tone of the book and perhaps my not-so-secret super love of wizards and magic. I personally think Winesburg, Ohio is proof that it wasn't my lack of ability to appreciate a certain type of story and that it really was just pretty boring (sorry fans!). Because this is about small town relations too, it is about people who aren't celebrities or supernatural creatures or dating supernatural creatures... and it hooked me from start to finish.

  • Esteban del Mal
    2019-01-18 13:56

    THE BEST LAID PLANSA man and woman meet at a bar. They begin to talk and learn that each has trouble staying in long-term relationships because their sexual tastes are considered deviant. Excited, they decide to return to the woman’s apartment. After a bit of heavy petting, the woman excuses herself to her bedroom, promising to return wearing something more appropriate. Minutes pass and the woman emerges from her room in dominatrix attire to find the man nude, spent and smoking a cigarette. Incensed, she admonishes him for finishing without her. He replies, "Lady, I don’t know what your idea of kinky is but I just fucked your cat and shit in your purse."*****Bakersfield, CaliforniaThe man closes the book. He is at the car wash. His daughter dances in front of him, hopping from colored tile to colored tile in the run down, if air conditioned, interior of the building. He remembers the dreams of youth.He remembers standing on a hillside in Corona Del Mar and looking down upon a gigantic house under construction as his father tells him he is meant to be a writer. A plywood turret of what is to become a huge personal library is framed by the hazy blue of the Pacific Ocean. The house will be that of Dean Koontz, who would go on to write the Afterword for the 2005 Signet Classic Edition of Winesburg, Ohio. The man remembers boyhood, when the dream of being a writer was new. He is eleven. He and his parents have moved to the working class community of South Gate. For the first time, he applies himself to his schoolwork. He wins a city-wide essay contest and is rewarded with an article in the newspaper and a free lasagna dinner. His parents, whose marriage is failing, declare a temporary truce and whisper with one another about their destined-for-greatness son. Almost as impressively, a biologically precocious Latina he goes to school with named Claudia asks him to sleep with her. Blushing, he buries his head in his desk. He does not know what it is to sleep with a girl, he only knows that Catherine Bach of Dukes of Hazard fame has made him feel funny on several different occasions. One day he is accosted at the school bus stop by another boy named Jose who is jealous of the attentions of the resident alpha-female. Jose is beaten bloody and chased home by the boy. The school bus shows up just as Jose's family spill from their house, whipped into a bloodlust that the most fervent mujahideen would envy. As the eldest brother approaches the departing bus, his eyes meet the boy's through a window. The boy answers his foreign slanders by sticking out his tongue.The boy did not become a writer. The man he became thinks of all the things he has left unsaid and of all the feelings he has never shown. He is at the hardware store. He buys a drain snake because his Hispanic wife's hair has clogged the shower. He is mildly irked, but he loves her. He loves his daughter. He loves his life. Old friends are coming over today and he will laugh. He thinks that anyone who has read Winesburg, Ohio and given it less than four stars probably only has sex like Jesus is in the room working the lights.

  • Eh?Eh!
    2019-01-01 12:05

    I've just started this but I have in mind the American radio show This American Life and the snarly description they quoted from a (I've never watched it but I gather it was sort of trashy) tv show, "Is that that [radio:] show by those hipster know-it-alls who talk about how fascinating ordinary people are?"Anyone can read this book and call it beautiful, moving, insightful, etc. But someone who reads this and then continues to snub the "common" man for no reason other than boredom, a perceived sense of 'cool,' or appearances has learned nothing and could be called a hipster know-it-all douchebag. Not that we must all join hands in peace & love, but...be tender with each other; or be a well-read douchebag....this book is wonderful so far. I think I'm only on page 20.-----------------After reading a bit more, it occurs to me the above is a douchebag thing to say. There are likely reasons for rejecting your fellow man, for being a douchebag. Sherwood Anderson could describe these reasons in a short story that will leave you breathless with wonder. Position reversal, I am not one to judge who is a hipster know-it-all douchebag.What the heck is a douchebag anyway? When the compound is separated each part makes sense but combined it is more than the sum of its parts. Ah, the magic of language.-----------------"Breathless with wonder" is an exaggeration. I think "in contemplation and uneasy self-reflection" may be more accurate.-----------------Done! Sort of. This book is quietly haunting, without the wooOOOoooo-ghost thing but more a slight creaking in the far corner of the house or a wisp barely sensed and gone by the time the head turns to follow the movement. My reading of it was in halting episodes, broken by work and sleep, so I feel I've forgotten too much already.This book seems to be a study of the 'ordinary people that so fascinate hipsters' today, basically a collection of short stories describing regular folk. But so much more. With a few brushstrokes, Sherwood Anderson painted a masterpiece and I felt the emtpy rooms, the grayness of the lives, an upwelling of feeling and its inevitable return to absence, the silent sounds between people as they speak, purposeless running. Winesburg, Ohio is the town where dreams went to die, necessarily so since most dreams are bigger than feasible but for these poor folks they were not replaced by satisfaction with smaller goals. Those who were offered opportunity to escape didn't recognize it and remained trapped without realizing it and always wondering what-ifs and why they felt that way, why they felt nothing vibrant. Instead of excruciating detail, the people are presented in short descriptions of some past key event or current inner turmoil that a passerby would never realize by looking at them; these fulcrums sort of sink into your own mind and germinate. A cranky coworker or the surly pedestrian who didn't return a smile, what was their fulcrum, what disappointment or unrealized wish created this cardboard figure now and how can I get them to share with me so that they are no longer cardboard?This can be read without a dictionary. It's not at the level of a newspaper (I believe newspapers are supposed to be written at the 6th grade level?) but it's simply written. There was little dialogue and often the dialogue was purposely minimized by being summarized as 'some words were said' because the spoken wasn't important, it was the spaces felt between the thoughts&feelings and the out-loud.Near the middle, I stopped and read the little commentary section at the front of the book which included an excerpt of a letter from Sherwood Anderson to a playwright about a staging of Winesburg, Ohio. That was a mistake because Sherwood Anderson wrote of George Willard as being the main character and that nearly ruined it for me. I have a reflexive disgust for boys who do not try to be men (loaded words, both "boy" and "men," but stumble along with me for a sec) that blocks my open mind mechanism. After reading some of these lovely stories and feeling that I was so empathetic to their plight and lahdidahdidahhhh, to read that he intended their stories to be told through a boy trying to become a man but would he have the sensitivity to really see them and treat their broken lives with respect...and then I realized this is a book (but I love this book and started pulling out my sword for its honor or something). Also, hey dummy (I like to speak abusively to myself), he can and he did. The old man who begins the book wrote of man-made truths composed of numerous vagaries that were beautiful, but people came along and adopted just one or a few of these truths thus making them false, and those people became grotesques (this is a bad paraphrase). In my own grotesqueness, I was losing sight of the book and disliking the idea of an alien from Planet XY being the pivot point (dudes, I'm not a manhater, I love men, but boys make me impatient...keep stumbling with me). George Willard was a common figure in most of these stories so it was clear he would be used to pull it together.The conceit of these short stories, giving insight into the lives of 'ordinary' people, reminds me of another science fiction book where a person's life was told at their funeral. Not a eulogy since those can be candy-coated lies, but an honest and sometimes brutal relating of why the person had been the way they were. I felt that this book accomplished that for these people.At my current stage of grotesque, "Tandy" is my favorite. Not because I'm seeking that 'one,' but because I too fear missing my fulfillment or destiny or beauty or whatever it is that leads to contentment. I realize it's not a one-time thing, and maybe it's a continual striving. But will I know it when it comes? Or will I join the residents of Winesburg in gray and watch George leave?

  • AJ Griffin
    2019-01-04 14:52

    If you ever want to engage in a fun experiment I suggest you do the following, which I've arranged in a convenient, step-by-step format.A) Fall in love with a girlB) This might be hard to arrange by yourself, but the girl has to move away from you- but not because you split or anythingC) Stay away from her for a whileD) Save up your money devotedly (i.e. stop smoking for a week) so you can afford to go visit her.E) Take a 7 hour bus ride to where she resides, which may or not be a hippy/freak/artist university in Northampton, MAF) Arrive. Greet. Be happyG) Take copious amounts of speedH) I mean, take a lot. More than you shouldI) Do not sleep. Do not eat. These are the activities of the plebeians; you need to be spending your time having long, engaging, profound and worldly conversations that connect you with everyone you meet. At least, you need to think thatJ) Keep going! You're only there for two and a half daysK) Leave in the morning. It's been....50 hours since you slept or ate. Say goodbye, hop on that busL) You haven't taken any speed in a while because you're not fucking made of money, man, so functioning as a human becomes difficult.M) The speed wears off. You're on a bus, you're going back home to a place that you don't particularly like, and you're leaving behind the girl that you love without knowing when you will see her againN) Lose hope. Embrace despair. Have daylight hallucinations. Feel every grain of anything resembling happiness drain out of your body.O) ReadWinesburg, Ohio.P) See if you survive through the day!!The "big fans of existentialism" in my english class would have shat themselves over this book, because it seems like Mr. Anderson is the definition of the "life is devoid of meaning and full of hopelessness" idea they all wanted to believe so much. I don't want to ruin anything for you, but here's the general moral of these stories: pretty much everyone's hopes and dreams are just that, and they all end up dying, feeling like a failure.Cheery stuff. Enjoy with a heft dose of Coricidin Cough and Cold for optimal results.

  • David
    2019-01-15 11:37

    If not for goodreads I might never have read this extraordinary book, despite its acknowledged status as a classic. But only a fool would ignore the recommendations of readers as smart as Montambeau, Jason Pettus, and my good friendBen Harrison, and I'm not a complete idiot. So this past weekend I finally sat down to read Winesburg, Ohio, curious to see if it could possibly meet expectations.God, I loved this book! In the two dozen or so linked vignettes that make up his account of the small town of Winesburg, Anderson gives voice to the lonely, the dispossessed, to those, whose own emotional inarticulacy has made them outsiders in their own town. In the book he uses the term "grotesques" to refer to his characters, a term I found unfortunate, because these people are no more grotesque than you or I. Each of us, at one point or another in our lives, has surely suffered from the same inability to communicate that affects the characters in Winesburg; each of us has experienced the status of being an outsider, felt that there is nobody else on the planet that speaks the same language as we do. There is a universal recognizability to the characters of Winesburg that contributes greatly to the book's emotional power.Some readers react negatively to what they perceive as an overwhelmingly negative tone throughout the book. I think this is a fundamental misreading. Although Anderson's portrayal of small-town America as it changes from an agrarian to an industrial society is undoubtedly dark, it is by no means hopeless. By allowing his surrogate, the young reporter George Willard, to pass on the stories of the lonely denizens of Winesburg, he is affirming the importance of the stories, and of their protagonists. There is a sweetness in the telling of these stories that is reminiscent of Carson McCullers in "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe" or "The Member of the Wedding".I think the reason I react so strongly to the stories in Winesburg, Ohio is partly because I can identify with the outsider status of many of the protagonists. Not so much in my current life (though there are those occasional days), but there was that first year in high school, without a doubt the most miserable year of my entire life. Having skipped several grades in primary school, grown up in a household where my title of golden boy was unquestioned, I was completely unprepared for the jungle of a boys' boarding school in which I was two years younger than all of my classmates. That first year was Lord of the Flies brutal, completely miserable, and probably the most formative of my life. Two important lessons I took away from it were confidence in my own ability to survive a tough situation, and - crucially - the capacity for empathy. If you've ever suffered as an outsider, I think there are two ways it can turn out - the resentment can turn inward and fester, or - more positively - the experience leaves you with a life-long ability to empathize with those in an outsider role. Ultimately, there is a compassion at the center of Winesburg, Ohio that is anything but pessimistic, and that gives these stories their extraordinary power.Winesburg, Ohio completely earns its status as a classic. If you haven't already read it, I urge you to do so. Soon.

  • Kinga
    2019-01-18 19:02

    When European artists want to place their symbolical tale in a setting that’s nowhere and everywhere they often settle for Central-Eastern Europe. There are so many countries there, the borders keep changing all the time, no one can keep up, so the artists can let their imagination run wild. They can even invent a whole new country and stick it somewhere between Hungary and Czech Republic. Poland is also a good place. A classic Spanish baroque play – Life is a Dream by Calderón de la Barca takes place in an imaginary Poland. The French Ubu Ori by Alfred Jarry also takes place in Poland (further explained by the author as ‘in Poland that is nowhere’). The American equivalent of Central Europe is Midwest. It’s the nowhere and everywhere of the USA. If you looked at those maps on Buzzfeed where Europeans were asked to label American states, you saw that the whole of Midwest was usually covered with question marks.Sherwood Anderson grew up in Ohio and invented a little town in Ohio to place his stories of sadness and grotesque. He subverts the received wisdom that loneliness is an affliction endemic to big cities, and questions the rhetoric that makes us believe that small towns are oases where humans are there for one another. Anderson proves that just because everybody knows each other’s name doesn’t make them feel any less alienated for this alienation is a condition endemic to all human kind. And the greatest tragedy is that we all feel we are the only one suffering from it and we constantly compare ourselves to the other seemingly well-adjusted folks. All lies! We are all lonely and we all feel that life should be something else, something more. We are yearning for that je-ne-sais-quoi, as if someone made us a promise at the beginning of our lives and backed out on it."For a month his mother had been very ill and that had something to do with his sadness, but not much. He thought about himself and to the young that always brings sadness."Anderson is a great poet of a small town, so generous towards his subjects, never sparing any effort to describe their inner lives in the greatest detail. Oh, the frustration of not being able to communicate with the others, to express those suffocating feelings! No wonder all the dialogues feel so stiff and stunted. Anderson takes his own advice (in the book voiced by a teacher):"If you are to become a writer you'll have to stop fooling with words," she explained. "It would be better to give up the notion of writing until you are better prepared. Now it's time to be living. I don't want to frighten you, but I would like to make you understand the import of what you think of attempting. You must not become a mere peddler of words. The thing to learn is to know what people are thinking about, not what they say."Sadly and ironically, the author could never reproduce the success of this collection. Although he tried and tried he only created washed-down and trite versions of Winesburg, Ohio and nothing quite as poignant as this book. Doubly sadly, those that came after him, those that learnt from him and quoted him in their influences turned out to be superior and more talented. "Thoughts came and I wanted to get away from my thoughts. I began to beat the horse. The black clouds settled down and it began to rain. I wanted to go at a terrible speed, to drive on and on forever. I wanted to get out of town, out of my clothes, out of my marriage, out of my body, out of everything. I almost killed the horse, making him run, and when he could not run any more I got out of the buggy and ran afoot into the darkness until I fell and hurt my side. I wanted to run away from everything but I wanted to run towards something too. Don't you see, dear, how it was?"On a final note, let’s not forget how revolutionary this volume must have been at the time. Some of subjects discussed were: premarital sex, paedophilia, alcoholism, religious zealousness, physical desire, etc.

  • Glenn Sumi
    2018-12-23 11:45

    Winesburg? More like Whines-burg...I know this book of linked short stories about the lonely inhabitants of a small American town in the first decades of the 20th century has been influential, and is considered a classic, but I found it a drag: opaque, vague, obvious, tiresome.Yeah yeah, I get it: small town = claustrophobic, gossipy, repressive, hypocritical, lonely. Honestly? I’d suggest flipping through a book of Edward Hopper painting reproductions (see below), since he deals with some similar themes: how people don’t connect, the bleak flatness of existence, how you can feel isolated even among others.The book’s not very long, but it took me over three months to finish. Not a good sign. And even though some people call it a “coming of age” book about a character named George Willard, a young reporter and perhaps an autobiographical stand-in for the author, I never got any sense of him or what he wanted. In fact, I don’t remember much about the book at all: another bad sign. There are hints of pedophilia, exhibitionism, reincarnation, lots of premarital sex, a couple of murders, alcoholism. And so much loneliness. (Note: I think all of the above are in the book; I tried leafing through it again for specific details, but got bored even rereading the flat, declarative sentences and their dull, portentous titles like “The Strength Of God,” “The Thinker” and (seriously!) “Loneliness.”) I liked best a series of stories linked by a couple of characters: one group of four stories tells the history of a prosperous farming family, while another pairing of two tales links a lonely, horny pastor and a schoolteacher he becomes obsessed with and George himself. Just writing that I'm so bored I can’t... even…. zzzzzz

  • Jason
    2018-12-29 17:41

    First read, 2-stars:The Goodread Illuminati have really suffered Stockholm Syndrome with this one. Winesburg, Ohio. Somebody throws out a 5-star rating, quickly followed by a 4-star, two more 5-stars…another 4-star. The book propagates like herpes simplex II. Are my Goodread friends preening each other? Are they making the naked circle march of a rugby club initiation, where the closer you follow a naked friend ahead, the less people see your own frontal nudity? The book within a week is plotting a 4.87 average, and nobody’s ever heard of it before. With a sort of breathless desperation I mark it ‘to-read.’That was a year ago. I read the book last week. Twice.Second read, 4-stars:Thank goodness for the Goodread community. Thank goodness for the scrutable powers of the Goodread Illuminati, some I call friends. They were correct about the quality and complex dimension of this book. There’s a reason Faulkner and Steinbeck studied the work of Sherwood Anderson, ultimately trying to imitate the authenticity of his character development, the touch of local color. This short novel is an important benchmark in my awareness of American Literature.The great thing about social media—of which here I was again reminded—is the ability to leverage the brainpower of your friends. We’ve all vetted our friends on this site and honor their opinions, agreeable or not. My 2-star rating just didn’t jive with the rarefied 4.87 average of my colleagues. So, with a “shucks-, I-don’t-want-to-spend-the-time,” I reread every other chapter, which is practical with Winesburg, Ohio, a jigsaw of related stories. In this case I trusted the perspicacity of other readers, and it saved this book from falling away from me forever, forgotten. It happens sometimes. Just wanted to make that testament.I read more slowly, and therefore more thoroughly, keeping in mind I was almost 3 stars away from average. It made a big difference. Sherwood’s writing is simple, but not simple-minded. He shows us the underbelly psychosis of small town people—people everywhere. We all have despairs, and sometimes those dispairs have us so under thumb that it forges our character, our community’s character. Despair, disgrace, disgust. He shows us we’re all a little looney. Hopeless, heartless, haunted. Sherwood brings this powerfully to bear. Unfortunately I don’t have the time or wherewithal today to give this book a review it deserves. So, trust me as your friend as I filter the best 5-star reviews from my friends, the Illuminati:DavidAerinPaquitaMariaI can’t leave without keeping my own record of the single best paragraph from this book. You all can go on now.From chapter "Sophistication," page 151:There is a time in the life of every boy when he for the first time takes the backward view of life. Perhaps that is the moment when he crosses the line into manhood. The boy is walking through the street of his town. He is thinking of the future and of the figure he will cut in the world. Ambitions and regrets awake within him. Suddenly something happens; he stops under a tree and waits as for a voice calling his name. Ghosts of old things creep into his consciousness; the voices outside of himself whisper a message concerning the limitations of life. From being quite sure of himself and his future he becomes not at all sure. If he be an imaginative boy a door is torn open and for the first time he looks out upon the world, seeing, as though they marched in procession before him, the countless figures of men who before his time have come out of nothingness into the world, lived their lives and again disappeared into nothingness. The sadness and sophistication has come to the boy. With a little gasp he sees himself as merely a leaf blown by the wind through the streets of his village. He knows that in spite of all the stout talk of his fellows he must live and die in uncertainty, a thing blown by the winds, a thing destined like corn to wilt in the sun. He shivers and looks eagerly about. The eighteen years he has lived seem but a moment, a breathing space in the long march of humanity. Already he hears death calling. With all his heart he wants to come close to some other human, touch someone with his hands, be touched by the hand of another. If he prefers that the other be a woman, that is because he believes that a woman will be gentle, that she will understand. He wants, most of all, understanding.

  • Edward
    2018-12-28 18:38

    Introduction--The Book of the Grotesque--Hands, concerning Wing Biddlebaum--Paper Pills, concerning Doctor Reefy--Mother, concerning Elizabeth Willard--The Philosopher, concerning Doctor Parcival--Nobody Knows, concerning Louise TrunnionGodliness, a Tale in Four Parts:--I, concerning Jesse Bentley--II, also concerning Jesse Bentley--III, Surrender, concerning Louise Bentley--IV, Terror, concerning David Hardy--A Man of Ideas, concerning Joe Welling--Adventure, concerning Alice Hindman--Respectability, concerning Wash Williams--The Thinker, concerning Seth Richmond--Tandy, concerning Tandy Hard--The Strength of God, concerning the Reverend Curtis Hartman--The Teacher, concerning Kate Swift--Loneliness, concerning Enoch Robinson--An Awakening, concerning Belle Carpenter--"Queer", concerning Elmer Cowley--The Untold Lie, concerning Ray Pearson--Drink, concerning Tom Foster--Death, concerning Doctor Reefy and Elizabeth Willard--Sophistication, concerning Helen White--Departure, concerning George Willard

  • Rolls
    2019-01-04 18:54

    Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Oh." is one of the most criminally undervalued books in the whole damned canon. Mention it to most people and of the few who have heard of it precious few of those have actually read it. I am in no way shape or form trying to sound highfaluting. I bought this book a full year before I actually sat down to read it and that was only 4 months ago. I was finally swayed to do so because a good buddy of mine and I were itching to read some books together and we both happened to own a copy. I then read that Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Faulkner all at one time or another pointed to this unassuming tome as one of the greatest (and most influential) novels ever written by an american in the twentieth century - so that clinched it. Now I can hear you asking, "Why should I give a flying fig?" Well all I will say is, if you care about great literature you just have to read this book someday."Winesburg" is called a novel but it is an unusual one for sure. It reads more like a collection of short stories focusing on the inhabitants of this small American town. What could be more boring right? Wrong. Under the sleepy surface of Winesberg there is a seething, raw and at times unseemly reality promising to break through. Young George Willard is our compass through the rough wilderness that is day to day life in Winesburg. Most authors would churn out a coming of age story and nothing more. Anderson chooses a wider canvas and creates instead a gallery of grotesques that may depress you but will more often than not leave you marvelling at the power of his prose style. Anderson writes about these flamboyantly damaged people in the most sparse almost haiku like manner. Never once do you feel he uses the almost right word. There is through out language of an almost detached yet laser like precision. It is almost like if e.e. cummings was earning his keep as a mild mannered reporter for a small town newspaper. He feels for these people to be sure but not enough to waste words overwriting.Read this book and I think it will surprise you how modern a novel written in 1919 can seem almost a hundred years later. This ain't quaint nostalgia. This book is Here. This book is NOW.

  • JSou
    2019-01-21 13:03

    A couple weeks ago, since my daughter had decided on a birthday party at Build-a-Bear Workshop, we had to take a trip to the dreaded mall. I don't like the mall. There's always parents screaming at their kids, it smells wierd, there's now monitors throughout, advertising and blaring even more shit that you just have to buy. Groups of girls hanging out, but not even talking to eachother since they're all too busy texting and walking at the same time. (How do they do this?) I even spotted an angry-looking kid wearing a shirt that stated, "I ♥ TATTOOED BITCHES", with a girl who couldn't have been more than 14 hanging all over him. Ugh.Point being, whenever I'm feeling sickened by humanity, the best cure for me seems to be an amazing book and a hefty dose o' goodreads. Winesburg, Ohio was that amazing book. The characters in this book are not likeable; all of them clearly have serious issues going on. And that's what I loved. They were so identifiable, that days later, I'm still thinking about it."The thing to learn is to know what people are thinking about, not what they say."Sherwood Anderson knew how people thought, and reading each story completely blew me away. I think I'm probably one of the last people on goodreads who hadn't read this yet, but if not, I highly reccommend it.

  • Matt
    2019-01-07 13:50

    Pretend that you are a beleaguered IT guy. OK, maybe you aren't as beleaguered as those in Third World countries who have no choice but to work in the Truck Nutz factory for sixteen hours a day while dying a slow death caused by meager wages, inhuman tedium, and constant exposure to airbourne faux testicular carcinogens, but you like to think that you understand their pain. Existential career crises are the new black for Americans living in the 21st Century. It is Friday afternoon and you storm away from the office like you are a Chicago gangster on the lam from the g-men. If only you can get home and grab a book, everything will be all right. Just you, your book, a velvet smoking jacket, cigar, and cognac* and the wounds on your soul will be salved. Moments after you arrive home a thunderstorm suddenly descends. The sound of a lightning bolt hitting the transformer at the end of the block is punctuated by your wife's shrill, Universal Studios monster movie era scream. The scream is scarier than the lightning. After the storm passes you go to check on the computer. Dead. Totally. With a defeated sigh you begin to sift through the detritus of the island of misfit computers (the basement) in an attempt to build some sort of Frankenstein's monster type computer that will possess something resembling Internet connectivity. Around 11pm you stop for the evening and mark the occasion with a defeated sounding "Fuck it!" Now you feel like you can finally sit down with a drink and a book, six hours after you had initially intended for the moment to arrive.At a time such as this when you are feeling like the biblical Job of the Information Era, perhaps this is not the book that you want to sit down with if you are in need of a spiritually uplifting tome.Here is the part where I pull together two totally disparate pop culture artifacts in a questionable attempt at wit/hipster-cornpone wisdom. Ready? This book is like...shit, I don't know...this book is like Andy Griffith's bucolic town of Mayberry if Ian Curtis was the mayor.Although this is a melancholy read, it is also very beautiful. Winesburg, Ohio is a collection of short stories or vignettes about the citizens of this small, fictional town. Anderson gives us amazing insights into their feelings of unrequited love, personal inadequacies, and the loneliness that claws at their hearts. I feel that it is safe to say that most everyone on this site ponders his or her own life much more often than the average person. Have you ever looked forward to some upcoming event in your life with such anticipation that you have mentally mapped out and prematurely relished each little moment of impending sweetness? When the event arrives it often never lives up to what you are expecting and the sadness of this realization ruins everything else that might have been. That is the emotion that Anderson poured into this book, only better.After every story I said to myself "Wow! That is going to end up being my favorite character." Mine was Kate Swift, for the record. My favorite story was the four-part Godliness, as I found it intriguing that it followed a family over multiple generations.A recurring character in many of these stories is young George Williard, who is a writer for the local newspaper. Williard seems to possess a certain prestige amongst most of the other residents. He is often sought out for conversations that take a turn towards the one-sided confession. He is viewed by others as someone with a future potential as a writer and the heroic local boy who has the wherewithal to one day escape from Winesburg and make it big in the city. I found this interesting because Williard seemed to me to be one of the more shallow characters in the book. He feigned a facade of wisdom through a sort of quiet ineptitude. Williard does succeed in leaving Winesburg in the end, but something tells me that if the story were to continue that he will return to Winesburg in a couple of years and join the ranks of the broken and defeated.I purchased my copy of this book at ye local used bookstore some time ago almost as an afterthought. It is a beautifully bound book that came from a collection of similar classics in what I assumed at the time was salvaged from an estate sale. Despite the beauty of this volume, the publisher is called International Collectors Library, which sounds unfamiliarly fishy to me in a generic sort of way. This edition also contains a forward by Malcolm Cowley. I am not sure if this forward is present in any other editions, but a summary of the forward is that Cowley paints Anderson as a moody writer of rather sporadic output who served as a mentor to numerous writers who followed (Hemingway, Faulkner) but ultimately managed to alienate them all. He goes on to say that while the rest of Anderson's work is very uneven, this collection is more or less pretty good. Fuck you, Cowley, and fuck you, International Collectors Library. It offends me that you chose to shit upon such a literary triumph over what is probably some long forgotten petty professional grievance. Despite whatever personal flaws Sherwood Anderson might have had as a person this work spoke to me on so many levels. I'm very thankful that I finally pulled it off of the shelf. *Or whatever the Southeast Missouri equivalent of these last three might be.

  • Oscar
    2018-12-30 14:59

    Esta es la historia de un observador, George Willard, y de sus crónicas sobre algunas de las situaciones que acontecen o acontecieron a su alrededor. Sherwood Anderson era un mago. No hay otra explicación. Es capaz de conmovernos con cualquier mísera historia, apenas importante a simple vista, pero contada con tal apasionamiento que logra hacer grande lo insignificante. Anderson es capaz de ver lo extraordinario en lo cotidiano, de hablarnos de sus semejantes con una precisión y una poesía exquisitas.Estos cuentos transcurren en el Medio Oeste americano, concretamente en Winesburg, Ohio, durante los primeros años del pasado siglo.* EL LIBRO DE LO GROTESCO. Nada más empezar la novela, un relato extraño pero maravilloso sobre un anciano escritor que desea elevar la altura de su cama para poder observar por su ventana. Como digo, una pequeña maravilla, cuyo significado se va comprendiendo según se van leyendo el resto de cuentos.* MANOS. Las protagonistas de este cuento son las manos de Wing Biddlebaum. ¡Pobre Wing! Este cuento es una pequeña (o gran) obra maestra.* PÍLDORAS DE PAPEL. Nunca más veré las manzanas rugosas y arrugadas de la misma manera. Un cuento, apenas una miniatura, conmovedor y bellísimo.* MADRE. Elizabeth Willard desea lo mejor para su único hijo, ya que no ha podido conseguirlo para ella misma. Un cuento triste y hermoso al mismo tiempo.* EL FILÓSOFO. El doctor Parcival es un personaje curioso que intenta inculcar a George Willard su particular filosofía de vida a través de sus vivencias. Una buena historia de aventuras.* NADIE LO SABE. Historia sobre el deseo, contada muy sutilmente.* DEVOCIÓN. Este cuento está dividido en cuatro partes en las que se nos cuentan las vicisitudes de la familia Bentley, sobre todo del cabeza de familia, Jesse Bentley, obsesionado con ser el elegido de Dios y conseguir cuantas más riquezas mejor. Los otros dos personajes principales de este cuento son Louise, hija de Jesse y mujer sumamente compleja para su época, y David, su hijo y nieto del viejo Jesse, muchacho absorbido por las neurosis de ambos. Es un relato perfecto, en el que ni sobra ni falta nada.* UN HOMBRE DE IDEAS FIJAS. Otro cuento exquisito en el que prima el humor, y es que Joe Welling es un personaje memorable.* AVENTURA. Me he sentido muy identificado con este cuento, porque al igual que Alice Hindman, también he sufrido más de una vez el temor a la soledad, a qué será de mí en los años venideros.* RESPETABILIDAD. Una clásica historia de amor e infidelidad, perfectamente contada.* EL PENSADOR. De nuevo un personaje, Seth Richmond, en busca de qué y quién ser en la vida. Seth se siente un extraño en su propio pueblo, no logra integrarse. Le gusta la soledad y hablar poco, y esto me gusta.* TANDY. ¡Ójala encuentre algún día mi propia Tandy!* LA FUERZA DE DIOS. A simple vista, parece que el reverendo Curtis Hartman es un hombre satisfecho con la vida que lleva. Pero surge un obstáculo, en forma de mujer, que pone en entredicho su fe.* LA MAESTRA. Este cuento es el complemento del anterior, 'La fuerza de Dios', y un ejemplo de cómo escribir un cuento con los mínimos medios, para obtener un resultado en donde todo encaja como en el mecanismo de un reloj.* SOLEDAD. Este es un triste cuento de hasta dónde nos puede conducir un exceso de imaginación.* UN DESPERTAR. De cómo la pasión y el amor, por y de una mujer puede ofuscar la razón.* "RARO". Elmer Cowley odia ser un bicho raro. Pero no se da cuenta de que es imposible huir de uno mismo, que luchar contra la propia naturaleza es imposible. Cuanto menos raro quieres parecer, más lo eres. ¡Qué bien comprendo a Elmer!* LA MENTIRA NO DICHA. Un relato precioso sobre las insatisfacciones de la vida, y de las obligaciones a las que se han de ver abocadas las personas en un momento dado de su existencia.* BEBIDA. Otro maravilloso cuento. Cómo me gustaría vivir en un pueblo como Winesburg, estar cerca de la naturaleza, que cuando quieras alejarte y pensar un rato, estés a un paso del campo. Tom Foster y su abuela son unos personajes muy tiernos de los que habría que aprender.* MUERTE, es un emotivo relato impregnado de una bella tristeza.* SOFISTICACIÓN. El despertar a la edad adulta siempre supone un fuerte golpe y un enigma.* PARTIDA. Y por fin, George Willard se decide.Tras la lectura de estos cuentos, no me extraña que escritores de la talla de Faulkner, Hemingway o Steibeck, por citar unos pocos, hablasen de Anderson como de una de sus más significativas influencias.Recomiendo este libro a todos aquellos que amen las palabras y las buenas historias. Así de simple.

  • Jen
    2018-12-27 15:58

    Unbearably slow stories that filled me with a dull sort of dread. (2007) A couple of years later (2012. Okay, a few years later.), after a re-read:"Many people must live and die alone, even in Winesburg." There is no way to make my original one star reaction after the first reading of this book meet up with my present feelings about it. Is it because I was in a different place in my life a few years ago? Is it because I'm impatient with books that sometimes have a slow wind-up? Is it because, well, I'm a horribly conflicted and untrustworthy person and you should probably not read my reviews and count them as helpful or vote for them? That in short: previously I was a book ogre- grunting and harummpphing- while other readers marveled over this work?(hint: the answer is yes)This time around, I appreciated the characters. Yes, there were a few duds and dullards, but the hotelkeeper's wife? No. Hell no. That lady was fucking amazing and complex. I wanted the whole book to be about Elizbeth Willard-the men that she met and walked with, her illnesses, her connection with her son, her wild rides through the town, hell bent on gnashing her teeth and rending the fabric of her life all over the dust of Ohio. I wanted more of her. The stories that appealed to me most this time were about those people who, like trees, have been kept from growing in the right direction and have become stunted, twisting their limbs towards whatever sunlight and air they can reach. The interior decay and rot is so rich in between these cover pages, one flash of lightning and the whole of Winesburg would be ablaze with a violent light. And yet there is a gentleness here, and a crying out that is plaintive and for some maybe in a less forgiving mood, a trifle tedious. A man breaks a window. A woman wants to run naked through the streets and embrace a man. They have feeeeeeeeelings.Are the stories slow? Well, yes, I still think that they are. These stories are not the narrative express train. But there is a beauty in that, and I missed that before. Because I was stupid and wasn't looking in the right places for those spaces left after the sentences were past. And I have no excuse for missing those spaces and only seeing the sentences. Consider Walsh Williams, and how "There was something almost beautiful" in his voice, "telling his story of hate. " Or consider decay: "Let's take decay. Now what is decay? It's fire. It burns up wood, and other things. You never thought of that? Of course not. This sidewalk here and this feed store, the trees down the street there-they're all on fire. They're burning up. Decay, you see, is always going on. It don't stop. Water and paint can't stop it. If a thing is iron, then what? It rusts, you see. That's fire too. The world is on fire. Start your pieces in the paper that way. Just say in big letters 'The World Is On Fire'." These stories are a little bit like Dandelion Wine by Bradbury, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by McCullers, a tiny unfunny flash of Franny and Zooey, and the Old Testament's judgement all mixed up and receiving neshama at the same time. And I'll finish with what I take as the final word from Winesburg:" The idea is very simple, so simple that if you are not careful you will forget it. It is this- that everyone in the world is Christ and they are all crucified."

  • knig
    2019-01-01 13:51

    The embarkation point for the tales is ‘the book of the grotesque’: a not too subtle harbinger of the twist and turmoil a la minute to follow. Anderson puts us on guard with this opening: bucolic to turn bellicose and bilious, incoming. Winesburg is the ubiquitious Smallville, USA: a pastoral pastiche cauterized with the influx of urban myth. In a way ever since township sprung up and forged a lifeline to village, this tension between bucolic innocence and urban cynical know-how has been fertile breeding ground for aspiring authors. But even if all roads lead to Rome, its the journey that matters: and each little hamlet in the world will yield its own piece de resistance. I recall in comparison Flaubert’s ‘Bouvard and Pecouchet’: another take on the pastoral: but couldn’t be more different. This American Midwest pastoral is conspicuous with its absence of class consciousness.I can only agree with Glen Love’s introduction to my edition (which, boo hoo, does NOT have the promised map of (imaginary) Winesburg. And I so want that map now). That these stories have a cumulative effect so that the whole represents so much more than the sum of the parts. Each tale in isolation renders its anguished fervour with minimalist eloquence, but it is only the accreted munificence of the total collection, sutured by and centred on George Willard, the centrifugal force within, which refracts the full potency of the human condition in all its heartbreaking, unfulfilled yet earnestly hopeful qualia. Unsurprisingly, there is no pastoral utopia here: and really, historically, there never was, anywhere. Which poet fooled us into thinking we could leave town and regain innocence in the countryside? Unless its going to be a Thoreau-esque purge in the wilderness, then anywhere a milieu of people convene there hovers simulacra of broken promises, unfulfilled dreams, and wasted lives.Anderson’s stories unfold languidly and heavily: lack of plot is more than made up for with psychological depth and character development. So rich in sound, feel and texture is each story that reading more than a couple at each sitting is hard work. But altogether a mellifluous, relentless, affirmative read with an underlying posit that running away from the village does not alleviate the grotesque: it is a state of mind, rather than location specific. If there is one reason though, this doesn't get the five star treatment, its because too often the stories are an intricate tableaux vivant of life (in Winesburg), but as with all stills, the freeze frame leaves me wanting more: the next moment, the resolution, the evolution, the development: anything please, not just this carcass spread open to fester silently.I love the his writings, but I have a bone to pick with Anderson the man, a cad in real life who abandoned his wife and three young children in Ohio in order to slum it in Chicago in protest against materialism, for which many writers apparently praised (and emulated him). Of course protests like these are never constrained to, umm, ‘fleshy’ non materialism and Anderson proceeded to deprive himself with a further three wives before Karma eventually caught up with him: he died from peritonitis brought on by swallowing a toothpick in his martini olive cocktail. This being pre-James bond, of course.

  • Cosimo
    2019-01-05 16:03

    “Se devi fare lo scrittore devi smetterla di giocare con le parole; sarebbe meglio mettere da parte ogni idea di scrivere, finché non sei preparato. Adesso devi vivere. Non voglio farti paura, voglio farti capire l'importanza di quello che tu puoi tentare. Non devi diventare un venditore ambulante di parole. Devi imparare quello che la gente pensa, non quel che la gente dice”.Osservare un campo di grano come se fosse il mare; fare in segreto quello che fanno i giovani sotto gli alberi; scoprire in questo modo la propria piccola parte nel disegno dell'esistere. Raccogliere le voci di una comunità come fragole in un cesto. Senza più sogni desiderare la vita e invecchiare senza essere soli. I racconti dell'Ohio sono la semplicità della vita rurale, i curiosi e profondi personaggi del paese con le loro vicende di vittorie e sconfitte, fortuna e malattia, matrimonio e fraternità; sono le imperfezioni del caso, i paesaggi dell'anima, gli episodi che cambiano la vita, l'amore decisivo. La volontà di radicarsi e il sogno di fuggire si alternano, nella quotidianità dei ruoli e nella fatica dell'impiego, dove colori differenti riescono a creare un'onda di significato e di senso nel destino dei singoli, dall'alba al tramonto, dalla giovinezza alla vecchiaia. Racconti che trasportano meravigliosamente e lasciano dentro memorie ostinate: il grido dell'essere, un'impronta indelebile, una nostalgia ineguagliabile.“Un desiderio di parole lo sopraffece, cominciò a pronunciare parole senza nesso, se ne riempiva la bocca e le buttava fuori perché erano parole coraggiose, piene di significato. Morte – mormorò – notte, mare, paura, bellezza”.

  • Bastet
    2018-12-24 15:48

    Winesburg, Ohio (1919) puede interpretarse de dos maneras: como una novela o como una serie de relatos concatenados. Yo me quedo con la segunda, con un matiz: los relatos se leen como biografías de personajes ficticios (basados en paisanos del pueblo natal deSherwood Anderson). Si Salinger tenía fijación por los pies, Anderson la tiene por los hombros; así, cada vez que un personaje está a punto de desnudar su alma ante un amigo, apoya las manos en los hombros de su interlocutor, como si ese gesto le insuflara el valor que necesita para dar ese paso. En uno de los relatos más esclarecedores, una maestra advierte a su alumno de las dificultades que entraña dedicarse a la escritura: «No se deje embaucar por la palabrería [...] Tiene que ser usted algo más que un simple buhonero de vocablos» («La maestra», p. 217). La traducción y la edición («Caminaba por un camino»; «¡Qué más me dá!», y un larguísimo etcétera, pues hay tantas erratas como páginas) están descuidadas, muy por debajo de la excelencia a la que nos tiene acostumbrados Cátedra. Anderson merece una edición a la altura de su obra.

  • Sarah
    2018-12-31 16:50

    I read this book because goodreaders told me that Steinbeck was influenced by Anderson; that Cannery Row was influenced by Winesburg, Ohio; that this book was a favorite for Wolfe, for Faulkner, for Hemingway, for Henry Miller, for David Kowalski, for brian gottlieb, for Ben, for Chris, for Philip Roth, for J., for Angie, for Moira, for Yvette, for Ray Bradbury, for H.P. Lovecraft. For John Steinbeck. How could I possibly resist it, then? How can you, now?It's a novel and/or a series of short stories and/or meditations on loneliness and disappointment and futility. So, when you're feeling lonely and disappointed, is it a good idea to meditate on these things? Was it a good idea for James Ellroy to obsess on fictional and nonfictional accounts of misogynistic violence after the brutal murder of his mother? Maybe, maybe not. I don't know. But really, he had no choice, I guess. He just did. And the lonely and despairing will gravitate towards this book. They'll be either thankful to be given a glimpse of all the grotesque souls lined up along the town's streets or else they'll throw the book across the room! THIS WRETCHED BOOK! And they'll go read The Onion or something absurd and flippant that they can shake their head and laugh at. Speaking of The Onion and this book, here's today's daily Onion headline, which I found fitting for this review: House Haunted by Tortured Souls of Current Residents. Hee-hee. Despair is funny, now. "Thanks, Onion!" The first short in this collection is called "The Book of the Grotesque," and while the novel is not named so, it certainly sets the stage for the entire book to follow, for the rest of the stories compose a bit of a parade through the main street of Winesburg, featuring its grotesque citizens. I don't know if Sherwood thought that there were happy and peaceful souls in that town, but if he did, he didn't see a need to share their (surely bland) stories. And by grotesque, he didn't always mean dispicable, though some of them were. As the man in the short envisions them before writing about them, it's stated: "The grotesques were not all horrible. Some were amusing, some almost beautiful, and one, a woman all drawn out of shape, hurt the old man by her grotesqueness. When she passed he made a noise like a small dog whimpering."There's too much pain, right? I made a new shelf for this book because all through, I kept hearing a line from Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath: "They sat and looked at it and burned it into their memories. How'll it be not to know what land's outside the door? How if you wake up in the night and know--and know the willow tree's not there? Can you live without the willow tree? Well, no, you can't. The willow tree is you. The pain on that mattress there--that dreadful pain--that's you." The final line is the one that kept repeating in my head, but I included the whole paragraph because it's such an amazing one. Though, truth be told, I'm getting a little weary of pain fiction at the moment, which probably accounts for the missing 5th star. I at least need a break from it, though I can't abandon it because it seems to be my favorite reading. I just need a little time where I'm reading without sighing.I felt physically thankful (you know what I mean) when Anderson let up on the pain a bit and showed me some purity or some hope or some beauty. In the short Paper Pills, the first of two about Dr. Reefy, both of which I loved, Anderson lays out a metaphor that lets us know that he doesn't hate these characters; he loves them. He finds them beautiful. He even thinks they're better than the unpained and undamaged. I'll just leave you with that.On the trees are only a few gnarled apples that the pickers have rejected. They look like the knuckles of Dr. Reefy's hands. One nibbles at them and they're delicious. Into a little round place at the side of the apple has been gathered all of its sweetness. One runs from tree to tree over the frosted ground picking the gnarled, twisted apples and filling his pockets with them. Only the few know the sweetness of the twisted apples.