Ethan Canin Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Although Ethan Canin is the author of the novels Blue River (1991) and For Kings and Planets (1998), he is most acclaimed for his short fiction.


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Ethan Canin received the Henfield/Transatlantic Review Award in 1989, the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship in 1988, and a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1989.


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Frucht, Abby. “Grand Delusions.” The New York Times (February 20, 1994). Review of The Palace Thief discusses each of the four stories in detail. Although she terms the stories highly intellectual, she does not feel that this distracts from their effectiveness in depicting lives that are disintegrating. She characterizes all four protagonists as “antiheroes” who seem either foolish or delusional about their lives and find that, instead of an expected safety and security, they have found themselves in a vast psychological minefield.

Gurewich, David. “Breaking Away from the Brat Pack.” The New Leader (March 21, 1988): 21-22. This review of Emperor of the Air examines several stories in detail, pointing out their depiction of the American family as troubled and unsettled. Gurewich does not feel Canin is a trailblazer, noting the similarity to the stories of John Cheever, but also describes Canin as a “postminimalist” who moves the short story into the future.

Leavitt, David. “As Children and Others See It.” The New York Times Book Review (February 14, 1988): 7. In this mixed review of Emperor of the Air, Leavitt, a well-known novelist and short-story writer, discusses a number of the stories in this collection. While suggesting the stories are overly artful and sentimental, Leavitt also...

(The entire section is 474 words.)