Still on Call is the sixth and final collection of critically acclaimed novelist and educator Richard Stern. "Orderly miscellany" is the author's term for this aggregation of reflections, essays, reviews, reportage, commentary, and observations on writing and fellow writers, life, and contemporary culture.
The collection's three sections, Coasting, Posting, and Hosting, contain pieces that range from reflections on becoming a writer in the 1940s to assessments of such major writers and close colleagues as Saul Bellow, and Donald Justice to topical offerings from Stern's popular blog for the New Republic.
This wide-ranging collection is intended as the culmination of sixty years of the writing life but, first and foremost, as provocative entertainment. Stern is a prolific writer, and this selection of some of his highest-quality writing both educates and enthralls.
"Richard Stern is a literary treasure."
"Stern's new miscellany reveals a literary mind of the first order, thinking in elegant prose about dozens of interesting subjects."
"Stern is a great virtuoso. . . . [I]n an ailing literary culture, we should be grateful for a work like this and a career, too, spanning the American half-century."
---New York Times Book Review
"Stern's skill gives vitality to everything he treats."
---Edmund White, Los Angeles Times
"Like a gifted dancer in a small space, Stern has tremendous grace and ease on the page, executing dynamic turns and dips with a fine economy of motion and without sacrificing nuance."
Richard Stern is the Helen A. Regenstein Emeritus Professor of English and of the Humanities at the University of Chicago and the author of nineteen works of fiction and nonfiction. His books include the novels A Father's Words and Golk, and, most recently, the collection What Is What Was. Stern has been the subject of two books: The Writings of Richard Stern: The Education of an Intellectual Everyman by David Garret Izzo and Richard Stern by James Schiffer.
"In his 20th book, Stern . . . delights readers with his erudition, honesty, humility, and wit and demonstrates that even in his late seventies, he is 'still on call.' Stern clearly succeeds in his desire to 'stimulate a high level of mental energy'—put this book on your list of essential reads."
"Those of us beginning careers, as writers, scholars and readers, would do well to sit at the knee of this literary master."
Copyright © 2010, University of Michigan. All rights reserved. Posted May 2010.
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