The Night In Question: Stories

by Tobias Wolff

Paperback, 1997

Call number




Vintage (1997), Edition: Reprint, 224 pages


One of the sinuous and subtly crafted stories in Tobias Wolff's new collection--his first in eleven years--begins with a man biting a dog. The fact that Wolff is reversing familiar expectations is only half the point. The other half is that Wolff makes the reversal seem inevitable: the dog has attacked his protagonist's young daughter. And everywhere in The Night in Question, we are reminded that truth is deceptive, volatile, and often the last thing we want to know. A young reporter writes an obituary only to be fired when its subject walks into his office, very much alive. A soldier in Vietnam goads his lieutenant into sending him on increasingly dangerous missions. An impecunious mother and son go window-shopping for a domesticity that is forever beyond their grasp. Seamless, ironic, dizzying in their emotional aptness, these fifteen stories deliver small, exquisite shocks that leave us feeling invigorated and intensely alive.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member marysargent
Short stories. Really good. I read "Bullet in the Brain" in The New Yorker and bought this book because I thought it was so good. That story was even better on second reading.
LibraryThing member holden09
The English tutor I met with over the summer going into 10th grade recommended these stories. Each week I would read a story and analyze the rhetoric with him to a certain, mild, far-from-AP degree, and then we would go through the plot. What's nice about these stories is that they all have great
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plots; they are all completely different; they are enjoyable; and I was able to mildly analyze the rhetoric with my tutor, which helped the transition into 10th grade Honors and eventually 11th grade AP. My problem with reading up to that summer was that I was not interested in reading. The plot of these stories got me interested to read and then the rhetoric guided my respect for the authors. Eventually, reading became one of my favorite hobbies. These short stories were the base for my develop; they ignited my passion.
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LibraryThing member rholden
I can pretty much thank these short stories and my tutor who forced me to read these short stories for reviving my love for reading. Aside from 5th grade, when my teacher put such an appealling outlook on reading for me, I hated to read all my life. It was really never an issue, until I reached
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junior high school and high school. When I was 15 years old, the summer going into 10th grade, my mom decided it was time to get an English tutor and attempt to bring back my love for reading. Fortunately, it was successful. There was something about these short stories that was so interesting. I wanted to read one after the other until my eyes hurt. And then I just wanted to have discussions about each short story too. It was like I was back in 5th grade.
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LibraryThing member miriamparker
Well, I learned that Bullet in the Brain is one of the best short stories ever written.
LibraryThing member jmoncton
I'm not a fan of short stories in general, but I really enjoyed this book. His writing style is easy to read and so vivid. I thought many of the stories had to be autobiographical - that is until I realized that some of them were about women. I definitely will read more by Tobias Wolff.
LibraryThing member poetontheone
Wolff is undoubtedly one of America's best short story writers, in the tradition of Hemingway and Carver, and a number of stories in this collection are evidence for this claim. His stories are compact and meticulously constructed, brimming over with meaning. Each story in some way explores the
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psychology of memory, with protagonists examining or struggling with the implications of the past. Wolff navigates landscapes of physical, emotional, and spiritual violence in much of his fiction, and "Bullet in the Brain" and the titular story are two outstanding examples. Several of the stories in this collection are oft anthologized, and this is a great place to start for a sampling of Wolff's fiction.
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LibraryThing member msf59
Mr. Wolff is known for his short fiction, but this is the first collection of his I have read and it did not disappoint. This was published in 1996 but most of the stories are set in the 60s and 70s. Stories about damaged or flawed people, facing the trials of every day life. There are also a
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couple of stories set in Vietnam, capturing the boredom, the fear and horror of war. He is a solid writer and good story-teller. I will be seeking out more of his short fiction.
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LibraryThing member Koralis
Short story that I was able to read online for free. The main character clearly has no regard for anyone but himself. He is jaded and due to his mundane routine he cannot take anything seriously. Not sure if there is some hidden message, I took it as life being so boring that when something
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traumatic happens, you don't know how to deal with the curve ball thrown at you. Despite it being short, the story was a good read.
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