I really didn't enjoy the first dozen or so stories in this book. As I continued reading, either something about the stories changed or I began at some level to understand what Barthelme is all about. Sixty Stories is difficult, and feels like it would be better to read with a group of people or in a class. Then again, reading books in class almost invariably prevented me from enjoying the books in question, since I hate being subjected to someone else's schedule, and someone else's interpretations. Anyway, although Barthelme is sometimes annoying and often opaque, these stories are bitingly funny and a lot of fun to read. They're always enjoyable at the sentence and paragraph levels, even when the plot makes no sense. The School is one of the most perfect short stories I've ever read. Recommended.
copyright © 1998 John Regehr