Dybek, Stuart (Short Story Criticism)
Stuart Dybek 1942-
American short story writer, poet, and essayist.
The following entry presents an overview of Dybek's short fiction career through 1998.
Dybek has been crowned the “neighborhood laureate” of southwest Chicago. His short fiction has been compared to that of Ernest Hemingway, Nelson Algren, and Sherwood Anderson, authors who also recorded accounts of Midwestern communities. Dybek recounts the world of his childhood with a tender, lyrical nostalgia. But critics laud him for never allowing memory to rose-tint his recollections—he tempers the fantastic and often surreal elements of his narratives with honest, gritty realism and the reoccurring feelings of disillusionment and displacement known to dwellers of a city, and world, in transition.
Dybek was born April 10, 1942. The family lived on the southwest side of Chicago, in a working class neighborhood home to eastern-European Americans and Mexican Americans. Dybek returns to this neighborhood again and again in his fiction, often narrating the stories from an adolescent's viewpoint. He attended local Catholic schools before going on to the pre-med program at Chicago's Loyola University. He dropped out for a time, working in the civil rights and peace movements, but eventually returned to Loyola earning a B.S. in 1965 and an M.A. four years later. At one point, he worked as a caseworker in the Cook County Department of Public Aid, a job which provided him with some of the details he would later use in the story “Charity.” Music, jazz in particular, is also a great source of inspiration to Dybek; critics often mention the “lyrical” or “musical” flow and rhythm of his work. His first collection of stories, Childhood and other Neighborhoods (1980) won many literary prizes, including a Special Citation from the Ernest Hemingway Foundation, a Whiting Writers' Award (he was one of the first ten recipients of the award), and the Cliff Dwellers Arts Foundation Award. Other awards and honors include a Guggenheim fellowship (1981), a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship (1982), and the Nelson Algren Award (1985). He also won two O. Henry Awards, in 1985 for “Hot Ice” and in 1987 for “Blight,” both of which are stories included in his second collection of short fiction The Coast of Chicago (1990). Dybek has taught English and creative writing at Western Michigan University since 1974.
Major Works of Short Fiction
Dybek's stories are set in the Chicago of his youth, in communities with blurring ethnic identities, where Old World traditions and memories are quickly being pushed to the edges of collective consciousness in favor of slick, faceless “urban renewal.” His longer pieces tend to attract the most attention, although they are often actually sketches and vignettes paired with longer narratives and not traditional “short stories.” His work “Nighthawks,” involving the Edward Hopper painting of the same name and several threads of narrative weaving in and out of each other, is written in this manner. “Blight,” for which Dybek has won several awards, is probably his most successful story. It involves a group of boys whose Chicago neighborhood has been labeled an “Official Blight Area.” The boys do what they can to remain vibrant amidst the dying community, writing epic novels and starting a rock-and-roll band, eventually reclaiming their surroundings as an “Official Blithe Area.” “Hot Ice” exemplifies Dybek's talent for incorporating seemingly disparate elements into a solid whole; his characters here are Mexican and Polish, teenagers and adults, and the plot resets a grim version of Sleeping Beauty in an urban winter. Dybek is a frequent contributor to many literary journals and periodicals including the Chicago Review, the New Yorker, the Paris Review, and Poetry.
Commentators have often discussed the exploration of opposites in Dybek's work. He has garnered the most praise for stories in which surreal, magical, even grotesque elements interact with unblinkingly realistic portrayals of urban loss and displacement. His use of mythical Slavic sensibilities is heralded as a new take on the gritty Chicago tradition. But some critics find his combination of naturalism and the fantastic unsuccessful in many pieces. Dybek's repeated use of child or adolescent narrators also draws mixed reactions—some observers accuse the author of dodging deeper insight by telling his stories in immature voices, but most readers appreciate the exuberance and honesty of the youthful protagonists.
SOURCE: “Fiction.” Kirkus Reviews 47, no. 21 (1 November 1979): 1278.
[In the following review, the critic admires the story “The Apprentice” from Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, but unfavorably reviews the collection itself.]
Stories and sketches, verismo chunks of muscular Chicago reality: boys bringing a dying immigrant grandmother a jar of outlawed duck's blood soup; tales of ragmen; teenage car escapades; adolescent artists-in-bud; the “basic principle of Catholic education—the Double Reverse: 1) suspect what they teach you; 2) study what they condemn.” Set mostly in poor milieus, Polish or black or Puerto Rican, the sketches generally have a lurid effectiveness just a step or two beyond total believability. But all of Dybek's range and flair works together in the final story, “The Apprentice,” in which a truant boy courses through the city in the constant company of his crazy, ex-taxidermist uncle; together they collect dead-on-the-road animals destined for an imaginary restaurant the uncle claims to supply and which caters to displaced-person gourmets—a metaphor the boy doesn't appreciate for a while (and neither do we, right off). The uncle is full, in fact, of metaphors, lovely and outsized ones; and the story's climax reaches a literal (bridge-climbing) height and arc, as well as a symbolic one, that's absolutely superb. It crowns a collection...
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SOURCE: Ward, Robert. Review of Childhood and Other Neighborhoods and Brass Knuckles by Stuart Dybek.Northwest Review 38, no. 3 (1980): 149-57.
[In the following review, Ward views Dybek's stories as a “no-holds-barred assault on everything we have smugly assumed was reality.”]
We say the world's magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty; the beauty of speed. A racing car whose hood is adorned with great pipes, like serpents of explosive breath … that seems to ride on grapeshot—is more beautiful than the “Victory of Samothrace”. …
We will destroy the museums, libraries, academies of every kind, will fight moralism, feminism, every opportunistic or utilitarian cowardice.
Up to now literature has exalted a pensive immobility, ecstasy, and sleep. We intend to exalt aggressive action, a feverish insomnia, the racer's stride, the mortal leap, the punch and the slap. …
—from The Futurist Manifesto, F. T. Marinetti, 1909
Necrophilia, as Erich Fromm described it, “is the passionate attraction to all that is dead, decayed, putrid, sickly; it is the passion to transform that which is alive into something unalive; to destroy for the sake of destruction; the exclusive interest in all that is...
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SOURCE: Cook, Bruce. “Walks On the Southwest Side.” Washington Post Book World 10, no. 2 (13 January 1980): 1-2.
[In the review below, Cook regards Dybek among the pantheon of Chicago “neighborhood laureates” and praises his distinct combination of Eastern European-inspired flavor with the cynicism of the Chicago tradition.]
A long a diagonal line southwest from Chicago's Loop lies a vast terra incognita once populated almost completely by Slavic groups which has been changing over to black and Latin during the past couple of decades. Chicago has had neighborhood laureates in the past—James T. Farrell, who wrote of the south-side Irish; Gwendolyn Brooks, the fine poet who sings of the black south side; Nelson Algren, whose people are the Poles of the near-northwest side; and Saul Bellow, who has written so well about the west-side Jews. But nobody has come forward to speak for that mixed patch surrounding Douglas Park on the southwest side. That is, nobody until now. For here is Stuart Dybek to tell you what it is like to grow up there—the sights, the sounds, the smells, all of it—and this volume of his stories constitutes as impressive a debut as has been made by any of the many good writers who have come out of that “dark city,” Chicago.
Of them all Dybek seems most like Nelson Algren. Although it may simply be a similarity of subject matter, I was reminded again and...
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SOURCE: Adams, Phoebe Lou. “Short Reviews.” Atlantic Monthly 245 (February 1980): 95.
[In the following review of Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, Adams suggests that Dybek's stories contain both morals and “precise” narratives.]
As the title suggests, children occupy most of the stories in this volume. Lest that fact make potential readers wary, it should be noted that these tales in no way resemble the narcissistic “sensitive young man” stories that are the staples of many literary magazines and of writers' workshops everywhere. Dybek is an original.
The landscape of the book is a stylized, half-fantastic version of ethnic Chicago, full of eerie, secret regions oblivious to the city around them: a remote dump where a strange army of ragmen camp, a series of back streets nicknamed “the Alley of Heartaches,” a railroad bridge known as “the Black Angel.” For Dybek's children and young adolescents this is truly an underground, and their adventures in it take on a quality of fable or myth. One could say of most of these stories that they are about the lessons of growing up, but the ideas in them do not draw attention to themselves; the stories are the ideas. All are dramatic and some are grotesque, but Dybek does not confuse violence with narrative power, and every story is relieved by comedy and precise psychological observation. Childhood and Other...
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SOURCE: Kaplan, Howard. “In Brief.” Commonweal 107, no. 10 (23 May 1980): 319.
[In the following review, Kaplan criticizes Dybek for his use of child narrators, a device which Kaplan states allows Dybek an easy escape from deeper analysis.]
You can tell the romantic writer by his choice of characters: he's a sucker for outsiders and underground men. In these eleven Chicago stories Stuart Dybek writes about pushcart peddlers (“The Palatski Man”), an amateur ornithologist holed up in a condemned building (“Blood Soup”), sots, pederasts, paranoid DPs. A tough bunch to get to know well in real life, even for writers. So when Dybek filters their stories through a child's point of view, as he tends to do, the strategy smacks of convenience more than anything else: a child doesn't have to pretend to understand what he sees. Over and over we wind up with the little tyke's sense of wonder and no more. It's like an excuse to flesh out scanty material. When Dybek tells a story “straight,” as in the one about a crone who disposes of the neighborhood's excess kittens by drowning them in her washer, he doesn't have much to say: “The Cat Woman” is the shortest piece in the book.
The best story here (never mind the book's title) is not about childhood. More memoir than fiction, “Charity” records the author's psychological hard times as a social worker on Chicago's South Side....
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SOURCE: Kubal, David. “Fiction Chronicle.” The Hudson Review 33, no. 3 (autumn 1980): 445-47.
[In the below review, Kubal praises the unconventionality of Dybek's “magical grotesques” collected in Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, but notes that Dybek may be attempting to raise the mundane world to the mythic, at the expense of a serious exploration of reality.]
In Stuart Dybek's first book [Childhood and Other Neighborhoods], a group of eleven uncanny stories about childhood and adolescence, we encounter a world radically different from Miss Beattie's or Mr. Vivante's. It is the Southwest side of Chicago during the 1940s, fifties, and sixties, a Slavic neighborhood gradually being overtaken by Blacks and Spanish. It is also a harsh and repulsive section of the city, which the author's singular imagination nonetheless enchants, transforming it into a world of magical grotesques. With its antecedents in Russian, and, perhaps, in Yiddish literature (one is sometimes reminded of I. B. Singer's stories), as much as in Sherwood Anderson and James T. Farrell, his fiction treats Ragmen, who hold strange rituals on the outskirts of town on Sunday after Mass; an old buzka, the Cat Woman, and her crazy grandson, Swantek, who drowns kittens and hangs them on the clothesline to dry; Budhardin, who returns to the neighborhood inside a mechanical elephant to revenge himself on the parish...
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SOURCE: Bloom, Alice. “Shorted Out.” The Hudson Review 40, no. 2 (summer 1987): 323, 329-30.
[In the following excerpt, Bloom gives a positive review of Childhood and Other Neighborhoods.]
I've just read 312 new short stories—American, European, Latin American. As a review is on some level a piece of advice anyway (buy, read, take seriously, etc., or don't) I'll begin with my piece and say: don't do this, don't read 312 or even 12 in a row. One, well okay, three stuffed mushrooms, a few brief interesting or amusing conversations, make for a pretty good stand-up party. But after 312 however savoury niblets of taste and talk one is both bloated and undernourished, muzzy, as though deprived of deep sleep (long talks, whole sit-down meals, a novel). Pick another metaphor and say, like a single yellow rose, a short story shows up best in the mind if placed against a relatively bare background.
I'd go further, advise that no single volume of anyone's stories, even Lawrence or Turgenev, should be read at one sitting. If the writer is good, then you want to live there longer, deeper—for a novel. If the writer's not so good, then all the failures of omission and commission become tics, present themselves boldly at entrance, and you don't even want to visit. Either irritable state of mind is unfair to the form, and either can be somewhat avoided if stories are read one at a time. …...
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SOURCE: Klawans, Stuart. “Brief Encounters.” The Village Voice Literary Supplement no. 84 (April 1990): 6.
[In the following review, Klawans commends Dybek for his evocative stories.]
Stuart Dybek's new book begins with a story titled “Entrance”—an appropriate name, whichever syllable you stress. Though the word refers immediately to the doorway of a three-flat, that fundamental unit of Chicago architecture, what really opens here is memory—the memory of departed people, of places that have changed, of everything that, in vanishing, gains the power to put you under a spell.
The setting, too, is appropriate, since few cities are so well made for hauntings. Vast, gray, matter-of-fact, Chicago seems as unalterable as granite, especially to its children. And yet it is a made-up place, conjured by entrepreneurial whim amid onion fields and intolerable weather, where one day there was nothing but prairie and the next a neighborhood full of European peasants. The day after that, the Poles and Bohemians disappeared, leaving behind a barrio and Stuart Dybek, who, dazed but thoughtful, set out to write these stories about the ghosts of his past.
At their best, the stories have exactly the quality that outsiders don't associate with Chicago—they're beautiful. They modulate from one recollection to another with a musical logic—the music of Schumann, I'd say,...
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SOURCE: A review of The Coast of Chicago, by Stuart Dybek.Antioch Review 48, no. 4 (fall 1990): 545.
[In the following review, the critic compares Dybek's work to that of Hemingway.]
In 14 interlocked stories and vivid “short shorts” reminiscent of Hemingway's stark interludes in In Our Time, Dybek writes of a richly remembered Chicago of boyhood, adolescence, and young manhood. Dreamlike and phantasmagoric, his stories remain paradoxically vivid and realistic. Creatures of the night, his characters are apparitions, luminescent reflections and shadows who inhabit a rain-streaked, surreal city of memories and ghosts, of vanished ethnic neighborhoods and mournfully twisting, Kafkaesque streets leading nowhere. Dybek creates an eerie portrait of a vanished Chicago, populated by denizens as hauntingly spectral as those in Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks, which provides the title for one of his finest series of stories.
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SOURCE: “Fiction.” Kirkus Reviews 58, no. 4 (15 February 1990): 204-05.
[In the following review of The Coast of Chicago, the critic compares the collection to Dubliners and Sherwood Anderson's tales in its design, scope, and realism.]
Grounded in the realities of ethnic life in Chicago, Dybek's second collection of stories (Children and Other Neighborhoods, 1980) transcends street-corner sociology for an urban poetry of spirit and myth; his lyrical prose derives its power from his switchblade sharp imagery—as well as Proustian sensitivity to the smells and sounds of city life.
Every story here, from the half-page shorts to the lengthy, conventional narratives, serves as a gloss on the others, creating a coherence of design and texture truly worthy of comparison with Joyce's epiphanic Dublin tales or Anderson's Midwestern elegiacs. “Bottle Caps,” “Lights,” and “The Woman Who Fainted” all detail odd rituals—collecting beer-bottle caps, waiting on the corner at dusk to tell drivers to turn on their lights, and watching each Sunday in church for the wilting flower of a woman who regularly faints. This is a memory book as well, with portraits of a nervous Russian émigré (“Entrance”) and a cat-lady who collects stray animals (“Strays”). Lyrics celebrate working as a movie usher (“Outtakes”) and an old radio show (“Lost”). “Death of...
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SOURCE: “Ploughshares Bookshelf.” Ploughshares 17, no. 1 (spring 1991): 228-29.
[In the following review of The Coast of Chicago, Lee praises Dybek's ability to draw contrasts together, mingling past with future and grim realism with the mythic.]
Readers of literary magazines and anthologies frequently speak of Stuart Dybek's stories with reverence, and they will certainly covet The Coast of Chicago, his second collection, which brings together several works already deemed classics: “Hot Ice,” “Blight,” and “Pet Milk.” Seven long stories are interleaved with seven shorter ones, and they are bound so tightly by place and theme, the book merits, for once, the flap-copy comparisons to Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio and Joyce's Dubliners.
Dybek's style often shifts from a gritty realism befitting the Chicago's South Side to metafictional techniques which transform images into reverie, the tangible into the mythic. Nothing could be more appropriate, since this is a book about trying to bridge polarities: the past and future, tradition and assimilation, hopelessness and joy, night and day. In stories about coming of age in the 1950s and '60s, the characters—Slavic, Hispanic, Greek—watch their neighborhoods disappear in the sweep of urban renewal, and, “at times, walking past the gaps, they felt as if they were no longer quite there themselves,...
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SOURCE: Caesar, Terry. “Glimpses, Surfaces, Ecstasies: Three Books of Short Fiction.” Michigan Quarterly Review 30, no. 3 (summer 1991): 506-18.
[In the following review, Caesar lauds Dybek's style, noting examples of taut narrative impressively infused with lyricism and music.]
The title story in Charles Baxter's new volume of stories is about a man who is telephoned one day by another man. He claims to be his brother. They meet at a bar. They are indeed brothers. “Isn't this great?” exclaims one. Well, no, thinks the other. “It was horrifyingly strange without being eventful.”
It is a line which can stand for some of the deepest impulses of contemporary short fiction. The strangeness is the important thing, whether or not it is horrible, and it is the more strange because the less eventful. Baxter's stories may be richer in event than those in the new volumes of Richard Burgin and Stuart Dybek. This is another way of saying that Baxter's stories are less strange.
“I know that real astonishment is our deepest taboo—that even Spinoza would not consider wonder to be one of our emotions,” reflects the narrator in Burgin's first story; all of them are avid for astonishment, and almost baffled by anything which does happen—a group of old people having their picture taken, a brilliant grade school friend whose promise expires into ritualized stupor....
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SOURCE: Montrose, David. “Into the Underworlds.” Times Literary Supplement, no. 4608 (26 July 1991): 18-19.
[In the following review, Montrose bemoans the British edition of The Coast of Chicago for being spliced-together and lacking in cohesion.]
Eight of the stories in The Coast of Chicago, Stuart Dybek's fine British début, have been selected from a larger volume of the same name published in America last year; the remaining six are from his previous collection, Childhood and Other Neighborhoods (1986). The titles are apposite. Dybek's fictive territory is his native patch, the Slav and Hispanic districts of Chicago's South Side (frequently during the 1950s, “those years between Korea and Vietnam”); his protagonists are often children and adolescents.
All the earlier stories are third-person narratives, the majority with children serving as the centres of consciousness. Particularly impressive are two in which pairs of children stray into alarming social netherworlds. “The Palatski Man” sees John and his kid sister follow a sweet-vendor back to the encampment of a gypsy-like clan of pedlars, where they witness a strange quasi-Mass. In “Blood Soup”, two brothers brave dangerous neighborhoods in quest of fresh duck blood (no longer obtainable legally), an essential ingredient of a restorative potion for their ailing grandmother.
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SOURCE: Gladsky, Thomas S. Princes, Peasants, and Other Polish Selves: Ethnicity in American Literature, pp. 256-62. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1992.
[In the following excerpt, Gladsky examines Dybek's thematic use of fading cultural identity and lost places, both physical and emotional, and the effect of this rootlessness on young Chicagoans.]
AMERICAN SELVES—ETHNIC PERSPECTIVES
THE MYSTERIOUS PRESENCE OF THE LOST: STUART DYBEK
Stuart Dybek's fiction immediately invites comparison to Nelson Algren's stories about “outsiders and underground men,” as Howard Kaplan describes Dybek's characters (319). A winner of the Nelson Algren Award, Dybek—like Algren—is essentially a realist-naturalist with a touch of fantasy and a commitment to the proletariat—“an interest in class,” as Dybek phrases it (TLS, 25 November 1989). More to the point, Dybek also writes about Chicago's Poles, although his characters, urban guerrillas of a sort, are worlds apart from the semiliterate, brutish, and hapless victims in Never Come Morning and The Man with the Golden Arm. Dybek's protagonists constantly assess themselves within the context of place. Even when they have left childhood and other neighborhoods behind, place remains with them as it does with Poniscan's wanderers, those ethnic outsiders who continue to look to their...
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SOURCE: Gladsky, Thomas S. “From Ethnicity to Multiculturalism: The Fiction of Stuart Dybek.” MELUS 20, no. 2 (summer 1995): 105-18.
[In the following essay, Gladsky examines Dybek's expressions of his Polish heritage in his fiction.]
The new world culture and old country heritage of approximately fifteen million Americans of Polish descent are among multicultural America's best kept secrets. Historically a quiet minority, they have been eager to acculturate, assimilate, and melt into the mainstream. One of the consequences of this has been a failure to acquaint other Americans with Polish culture—its history and literature—or to establish a recognized ethnic literary tradition. This is not to say that there is not a Polish presence in American letters. From the 1830s and the arrival of the first significant body of Polish emigrés, primarily officers exiled after the 1831 uprising against the tzar, American writers have created Polish literary selves in plays, fiction, poems, and in prose works numbering perhaps as many as two hundred. Many of these contain abbreviated characterizations, predictably simplistic portraits, or, in some cases, merely composite Slavic cultural representations. At the same time, a few writers of classic ethnic and immigrant fiction, such as Karl Harriman (The Homebuilders 1903), Edith Miniter (Our Natupski Neighbors 1916), and Joseph Vogel (Man's...
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SOURCE: Febles, Jorge. “Dying Players: Ramírez's ‘El Centerfielder’ and Dybek's ‘Death of the Rightfielder.’” Confluencia 12, no. 1 (fall 1996): 156-67.
[In the following essay, Febles compares Dybek to Sandinista writer Sergio Ramírez, finding elements of the carnival concept in the work of both authors: reigning absurdity, grotesque figures and rituals, atemporality, and a celebration of the “play spirit.”]
Perhaps there is no rhetorical exercise as gratuitous as searching for tangentialities between literary texts that bear little direct relationship. And yet, such is the nature of the comparative effort which this essay attempts. I intend to demonstrate how coetaneous authors from different nations, writing in different languages and pursuing diverse aesthetic intentions can nevertheless perceive the game of baseball in a self-same manner. My conclusions, therefore, will pertain more to the sport itself, to its unavoidable tie with the play spirit inherent in human beings, than to the texts that somewhat at random I have opted critically to juxtapose.
Sergio Ramírez's “El centerfielder” is a politically committed construct intent on revealing the repression experienced by Nicaraguan lower classes during the Somoza dictatorship. In it, a former amateur baseball player is illegally imprisoned and sent to his death because he collaborated with his revolutionary...
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SOURCE: Dybek, Stuart, with Mike Nickel and Adrian Smith. “An Interview with Stuart Dybek.” Chicago Review 43, no. 1 (winter 1997): 87-101.
[In the following interview, Dybek discusses the perception of him being a Chicago writer, the role of childhood in his stories, and influences on his work.]
The following interview was conducted as part of the University of Memphis's ongoing River City Writers Series; the conversation took place March 7, 1995, in Memphis. Stuart Dybek's books include two collections of short stories, Childhood and Other Neighborhoods (Viking, 1980), and Coast of Chicago (Knopf, 1990), as well as a work of poetry, Brass Knuckles (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1979). A recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, Dybek's writing may be found in The New Yorker, and The Best American Short Stories of 1995.
[Nickel]: I thought we'd start by talking about the Chicago style with which you're often identified. Let's begin with the term “Chicago Writer.” I'm curious how you feel about it?
[Dybek]: Well, at this point it might seem a little disingenuous of me to say that it was a surprise because the reviews have mentioned it so often, but it really was. When my first book of stories came out, I was living in the Keys, a long way from Chicago. And the way I had...
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SOURCE: Lee, Don. “About Stuart Dybek: A Profile by Don Lee.” Ploughshares 24, no. 1 (spring 1998): 192-98.
[In the following essay, Lee offers an overview of Dybek's career as a short story writer.]
Stuart Dybek works with a curious mix of spontaneity and retentiveness. He wrote most of the stories for his first collection, for instance, under a spell. He'd put on Eastern European classical music, and the words would simply pour out. To this day, Dybek relies on music for inspiration, listening to jazz, jotting in a notebook, improvising, not knowing or caring if the lines will beget a poem or a short-short or a novella. Yet he can be superstitious and fussy—a perfectionist. He is reluctant to analyze or even discuss his ongoing projects, fearing he might “talk away a story,” and he has not published another book since his second collection in 1990, although he has four full-length manuscripts that have been interminably close to ready.
Dybek, a second-generation Polish American, lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and has taught at Western Michigan University since 1974. His wife, Caren, works in the school system near Kalamazoo, and their daughter and son were raised there. But as Dybek's readers know—and his fans are cultish in their reverence for his work—he writes almost exclusively about the Southwest Side of Chicago, where he was born in 1942. Later known as Pilsen and...
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Coates, Joseph. “A Storied Renaissance.” Chicago Tribune Books. (8 April 1990): 1-4.
Review of The Coast of Chicago.
Grosch, Anthony R. “Book Reviews.” The Old Northwest 6, no. 4 (winter 1980): 400-03.
Review of The Coast of Chicago.
Nemanic, Gerald. “Chicago Writers Follow Tradition But Break New Trails.” Chicago Tribune Book World. (6 January 1985): 21-2.
Discusses the “new generation” of Chicago authors.
Additional coverage of Dybek's life and career is contained in the following sources published by the Gale Group: Contemporary Authors, Vols. 97-100; Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 39; Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 114; Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 130; and Literature Resource Center.
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