There's Something I Want You to Do: Stories (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)
"There’s something I want you to do.” This request—sometimes simple, sometimes not—forms the basis for the ten interrelated short stories that comprise this latest penetrating and prophetic collection from the winner of the PEN/Malamud Award and “one of our most gifted writers” (Chicago Tribune).
As we follow a diverse group of Minnesota citizens, each grappling with their own heightened fears, responsibilities, and obsessions, Baxter unveils the remarkable in what might otherwise be the seemingly inconsequential moments of everyday life.
About the Author
Charles Baxter is the author of the novels The Feast of Love (nominated for the National Book Award), The Soul Thief, Saul and Patsy, Shadow Play, and First Light, and the story collections Gryphon, Believers, A Relative Stranger, Through the Safety Net, and Harmony of the World. The stories “Bravery” and “Charity,” which appear in There’s Something I Want You to Do, were included in Best American Short Stories. He has won the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story. Baxter lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
“Charles Baxter’s stories proceed with steady grace, nimble humor, quiet authority, and thrilling ingeniousness. . . . He is a great writer.” —Lorrie Moore, author of Bark
“Winning and ingenious.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Charles Baxter is nothing short of a national literary treasure. To read these stories—hilarious, tragic, surprising, and indelibly human—is to receive revelation at the hands of a master.” —Julie Orringer, author of The Invisible Bridge
“There’s Something I Want You to Do is in many ways Baxter’s Winesburg, Ohio, an intimate look at the emotional lives of everyday folks sharing the same geography.” —The Boston Globe
“Subtle, humane and, in the best sense, clever.” —The Plain Dealer
“Very entertaining. . . . As this compelling collection reminds us, it’s an awfully strange world out there.” —Chicago Tribune
“Few writers, if any, are as capable of pursuing such an inevitable truth as this—and in so graceful, subdued, and artful a manner—as Charles Baxter.” —Philadelphia Inquirer
“[There’s Something I Want You to Do’s] characters slip in and out of one another’s stories, and while some never meet, they eventually constitute … a shimmering web of interconnectedness.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Nearly as organic as a novel, [There’s Something I Want You to Do] is more intriguing, more fun in disclosing its connective tissues through tales that stand well on their own.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Baxter creates empathetic and nuanced portraits of human nature. . . . Reminds us that happiness, like morality, is fluid and that we must guard it accordingly.”—The Miami Herald
“A master of the form contemplates the abhorrent and admirable choices we make and what finally leads a person to choose the high road.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“An explosive addition to [Baxter’s] already stellar resume.” —Den of Geek, “Must Read Fiction of the Year”
“Baxter’s writing is sharper than ever.” —The Cedar Rapids Gazette
“Will make readers hungry for more.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Baxter’s writing is characterized by . . . unselfconsciousness [and] artless clarity. His characters take on their own lives. They subsist so independently of their creator that we almost forget that there is a creator.” —The Rumpus
“With his latest collection, Charles Baxter has given us something altogether new in contemporary fiction: a series of moral tales that contain zero moralizing. . . . Here is a cast of characters unparalleled since Sherwood Anderson’s Book of Grotesques, with a modern-day Minneapolis as tangible and strange as his Winesburg, Ohio.” —Jamie Quatro, author of I Want to Show You More
“Five stories named for virtues and five for vices make up this collection from a master craftsman. . . . Baxter’s characters muddle through small but pivotal moments, not so much confrontations as crossroads between love and destruction, desire and death….The prose resonates with distinctive turns of phrase that capture human ambiguity and uncertainty: trouble waits patiently at home, irony is the new chastity, and a dying man lives in the house that pain designed for him.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)