Cover image for The coast of Chicago
The coast of Chicago
Dybek, Stuart, 1942-
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First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1990.
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The stolid landscape of Chicago suddenly turns dreamlike and otherworldly in Stuart Dybek's classic story collection. A child's collection of bottle caps becomes the tombstones of a graveyard. A lowly rightfielder's inexplicable death turns him into a martyr to baseball. Strains of Chopin floating down the tenement airshaft are transformed into a mysterious anthem of loss. Combining homely detail and heartbreakingly familiar voices with grand leaps of imagination, The Coast of Chicago is a masterpiece from one of America's most highly regarded writers.

Author Notes

Stuart Dybek is the award-winning author of I Sailed with Magellan, Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, and Brass Knuckles, a volume of poetry. A professor of English at Western Michigan University, he lives in Kalamazoo

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Without unduly sentimentalizing the experience, Dybek ponders what it was like growing up in Chicago in the 1960s and 1970s. In a series of alternating long and short takes, the writer travels back in memory to his old ethnic neighborhood, recalls his early romances, and recounts a creaky urban legend about a young woman's body frozen in a block of ice. Even in the briefest pieces, Dybek effectively sketches in the setting and establishes an individual identity that memorializes a moment in the past. At times the longer stories may appear a bit bloated in comparison, but even there the essence of each event and emotion is fastened in the mind in a skillful and persistent fashion. --John Brosnahan

Publisher's Weekly Review

These 14 dreamlike stories include ``Nighthawks,'' a man's surreal subway journey inspired by a vision of his dead girlfriend, and ``Blight,'' the tale of a recurring nightmare, in which atomic bombs drop on Chicago when the White Sox win the pennant. Dybek's ``phantasmagoric'' collection ``evokes the bizarre mysteries of everyday life in Chicago's gritty ethnic enclaves,'' PW said. Author tour. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Farwellp. 3
Chopin in Winterp. 7
Lightsp. 34
Death of the Right Fielderp. 35
Bottle Capsp. 40
Blightp. 42
Outtakesp. 72
Bijoup. 74
Straysp. 82
Nighthawksp. 83
The Woman Who Faintedp. 119
Hot Icep. 123
Lostp. 165
Pet Milkp. 167