Bobbie Ann Mason burst onto the American literary scene during a renaissance of short fiction that Raymond Carver called a "literary phenomenon." Anne Tyler hailed Mason as "a full-fledged master of the short story." Mason's work, charged with a spirit of exploration, garnered both popular and critical acclaim.
This reader collects outstanding examples of Mason's award-winning work from throughout her writing career and provides a unique look at the development of one of the country's finest writers. Patchwork contains short stories first published in the New Yorker and other leading periodicals; chapters from Mason's acclaimed novels, including In Country, An Atomic Romance, and The Girl in the Blue Beret; and riveting excerpts from Mason's eclectic nonfiction. Some examples of Mason's recent explorations in flash fiction appear here in print for the first time.
Mason's writing glows with a nuanced understanding of the struggles and pathos of American life in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. George Saunders writes in his introduction, "Bobbie Ann Mason is a strange and beautiful writer.... Her stories exist to gently touch on, and praise, even mourn, what it feels like to be alive in this moment." Patchwork conveys Mason's extraordinary talent and range as a writer.
"Bobbie Ann Mason is one of those rare writers who, by concentrating their attention on a few square miles of native turf, are able to open up new and surprisingly wide worlds for the delighted reader." -- New York Review of Books, reviewing Shiloh and Other Stories
"Synopsis cannot begin to do justice to the complexity, drama, and ultimate benevolence of Mason's vision." -- Chicago Tribune, reviewing Feather Crowns
"A sturdy introduction to the multifaceted work of Kentucky laureate Mason. Whether story or novel, essay or review, Mason's work is characterized by closely realized detail, sympathy with the players involved, and, usually, sharp but good-natured humor. Admirable in its broad sweep of Mason's estimable career as a writer and likely as good a gathering as there could be -- if, for a fan, too short." -- Kirkus Reviews