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Mary Robison

Autor(a) de Why Did I Ever

44+ Works 709 Membros 13 Críticas 2 Favorited

About the Author

Mary Robison was born in Washington, D.C. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, an O. Henry Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, and the 2018 Arts and Letters Award in Literature. She is the author of four novels and four story collections. She lives mostrar mais in Gainesville, Florida. mostrar menos
Image credit: Photo by Pier Rodelon. Courtesy Counterpoint Press.

Obras por Mary Robison

Why Did I Ever (2001) 303 exemplares
One D.O.A. One on the Way (2009) 93 exemplares
Tell Me: 30 Stories (2002) 87 exemplares
An Amateur's Guide to the Night (1983) 45 exemplares
Oh! (1981) 40 exemplares
Days (1979) 39 exemplares
Subtraction (1991) 34 exemplares
Believe Them: Stories (1988) 31 exemplares

Associated Works

My Mistress's Sparrow Is Dead (2008) — Contribuidor — 764 exemplares
The Granta Book of the American Short Story (1992) — Contribuidor — 369 exemplares
Sudden Fiction: American Short-Short Stories (1984) — Contribuidor — 363 exemplares
Nothing But You: Love Stories From The New Yorker (1997) — Contribuidor — 186 exemplares
The Best American Short Stories 1982 (1982) — Contribuidor — 29 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Outros nomes
Robison, Mary Cennamo
Data de nascimento
Local de nascimento
Washington, D.C., USA
Johns Hopkins University
Ohio State University
short story writer
Robison, James (former husband)

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Mary Robison, née Cennamo, was born in Washington, D.C. to F. Elizabeth (Cennamo) Reiss, a child psychologist, and Anthony Cennamo, a patent attorney, and grew up in Columbus, Ohio. She started writing as a child and. She attended Ohio State University and earned an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University, where she studied with John Barth. She taught creative writing at numerous colleges and universities, including Oberlin and Harvard before becoming a professor at the University of Florida. She began publishing her work in The New Yorker magazine in 1977 with the short story "Sisters." The New Yorker has since published two dozen of her stories, many of which also appear in anthologies. Her first collection of short stories, Days: Stories, was published in 1979. Her novel Oh!, published in 1981, was adapted into the 1989 film Twister. Her other works include the short story collections An Amateur's Guide to the Night (1983) and Believe Them (1988). In the 1990s she suffered from severe writer's block and, in an effort to overcome it, scribbled her thoughts on thousands of index cards. These cards were the basis of her novel Why Did I Ever (2001). Her novel One DOA, One on the Way (2009) was chosen by Oprah Winfrey's Book Club. Robison has two daughters and has been married twice. Her second husband was author James Robison.



I enjoy when a book goes from "Aw, this is a fuckin' gingersnap" to "Touch me again and I'll cut you" in a matter of a few lines. I think what I liked most about this book was the fact that it was so dedicated to the banalities of every day life.

Maybe it's me.
cbwalsh | 6 outras críticas | Sep 13, 2023 |
Before I get going, it's worth pointing out that I read this almost entirely because a friend of mine, who is a writer, was very influenced by this book. Left to my own devices, I likely wouldn't have picked it up. So be aware that I'm not Robison's audience.

That said, I'm concerned that there are very serious things wrong with me, and that this book brought them all out.

I don't care very much about 'consistent characters' or verisimilitude or realism or whatever. That said, this book seems to be reaching for verisimilitude at least, and I'm more than a little confused about the main character, who was married to a Latin Professor, has read Melville's 'Pierre,' and often makes off-the-cuff references to John Ashbery, but apparently does not know what the word 'tort' means.

ii) That doesn't matter at all, provided you get something else from the book, and I should be able to get something from this, since our narrator is very flippant and I like flippancy. But I'm not sure what I was meant to get out of this: there's a woman. She's writing a script for Hollywood big-wigs (this is clearly meant to be satire). She's got a new boyfriend who is rich and a moron. She's trying to deal with the fact that her son has been raped and tortured, and the criminal is coming up for trial. Also, her daughter is overcoming heroin addiction. But I don't care about any of these things, and I suspect many readers will feel the same way. All of the events are reported in the same voice, whether it's someone looking up the word 'tort' or the horrific assault.

iii) There's a nice level of reflexivity early on: our narrator has painted a fake Rothko. Her friend complains that there's no "focal point. Something for our eyes to fix on, finally, and rest upon. Something we end up gazing at." The narrator responds, "It's! A! Copy!" Of course, the same can be said about this book; it lacks a focal point, lacks anything for us to fix on, finally. The implication here is that we shouldn't look for that one thing to fix on, finally. That's a good point.

So this book gives me at least two of the things I really value in fiction, but also makes me complain about things I don't really care about. That's an odd mix.

So, the content being more or less boring, the most important aspect of the book is its fragmentary form (the part of the book that has most influenced my friend). And it is nicely done, and a nice way to stick to garden variety realism while avoiding some of that mode's worst flaws (most obviously, Robison doesn't need to join everything together, so the book is compact and engaging). On the other hand, the brevity of the fragments forces the author to restrict herself, I fear, for the worse. There's not all that much that can be said in half a dozen lines to one page, and although there are few dud fragments here, there's also very little that sticks in my mind. A lot of people are writing like this now. The form is in a pretty obviously dialectical relationship, the other tendency being very, very long sentences, an absence of paragraph or chapter breaks, and, at the most extreme, books comprising only one sentence (Vanessa Place; Laszlo Krasznahorkai). We can all learn from both forms; the best books of the next generation will, I hope, take the best of the minimalist, fragmentary approach and the best of the maximalist.
… (mais)
stillatim | 6 outras críticas | Oct 23, 2020 |
There are very few writers who can write Dialogue as well as Mary Robison. She was big in the 80's and remains one of the more truly interesting American writers having revived interest with DOA and One on the Way. I reading her in order and this is her second work and not her strongest. It feels as if someone convinced her that given her extraordinary abilities with dialogue she could write a play and that play became a novel. It is 90% dialogue and details the peculiar behavior of a family of eccentrics. Some familiar tropes are here like the ex who still linger. And true to form there isn't really an epiphany. The events are critical and dramatic but as with her short stories that doesn't mean it will be wrapped up. The title which occurs at the end signifies almost nothing, almost a commentary on what is thrown away. Still she is just so good.… (mais)
Hebephrene | Oct 18, 2018 |
Robison has become one of my favorite writers. Introduced to her through an interview by Tom Drury who called her one of the best writers of dialogue I began with DOA and One on the Way, but I think Subtraction even better. It is a startling contemporary novel. A love triangle done in short impressionistic prose about a poet trying to save her marriage to a drunken charmer. But the triangle happens because Raf's best friend tries to console her. Minimalist but still piercing and funny and always witty we are given a kind of inferno tour of Houston Texas and the self destructive world wind of her husband. No paragraph is more than four lines so all the rubbish is cut out. It is clear that Robison could write screenplays. But the separation of the heartbreak from the entertainment is a high wire act and by the time they all end up on the Cape for the final storm and ending, you feel you have been as charmed and deflated as she is. Robison is not getting much attention now but she will be re-discovered because she is just too damn good. An essential American voice giving us a world barely keeping to its orbit with the same kind of deadpan charm as her colleague Drury. Yeah, there's a plot but this is about character and brief sparking moments of life.… (mais)
Hebephrene | Jul 12, 2016 |



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