Esther Stories


By Peter Orner

Foreword by Marilynne Robinson

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$25.99 CAD



  1. Trade Paperback $19.99 $25.99 CAD
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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around April 23, 2013. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

The discovery of a murdered man in a bathrobe by the side of a road, the destruction of a town’s historic City Hall building, and the recollection of a cruel wartime decision are equally affecting in Orner’s vivid and intimate gaze. The first half of the book concerns the lives of unrelated strangers across the American landscape, and the second introduces two very different Jewish families, one on the East Coast, the other in the Midwest. Yet Orner’s real territory is memory, and this book of wide-ranging and innovative stories remains an important and unique contribution to the art of the American short story.

  • Praise for ESTHER STORIES (2001)

    "There's startling intimacy in every story of Peter Orner's debut collection."
    Judy Doenges, Washington Post
  • "I was stunned by a sentence or two in every one of the works in Esther Stories."
    Rick Moody, The Hartford Courant
  • "A luminous debut collection. . . .Like Amy Bloom and Charles Baxter, Orner has a gift for revealing how the tragic and the mundane occupy equal berths in our limited mental space."
    John Freeman, Chicago Tribune
  • "Some of Orner's very short stories are the best of that form that I have read since Isaac Babel's."
    Andre Dubus
  • "If the short story were in need of a future, it has been found in Peter Orner."
    Dennis Lehane
  • "These are stories of unusual delicacy and beauty, and this is a remarkable collection."
    Charles Baxter
  • "Orner doesn't simply bring his characters to life, he gives them souls."
    Margot Livesey, New York Times Book Review

On Sale
Apr 23, 2013
Page Count
256 pages
Back Bay Books

Peter Orner

About the Author

Peter Orner, a two-time recipient of the Pushcart Prize, is the author of five previous books, including the novel Love and Shame and Love and the collection Esther Stories, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. His memoir Am I Alone Here? was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, The Paris Review, Tin House, and Granta, and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories. The recipient of the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Fullbright to Namibia, Orner holds the Darmouth Professorship of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College.

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