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Download Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories Audiobook, by Tobias Wolff Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,023 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tobias Wolff Narrator: Anthony Heald Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2010 ISBN: 9781455188253
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Tobias Wolff’s first two books, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs and Back in the World, proved how the short story can “provoke our amazed appreciation” (New York Times Book Review). In the years since, he’s written a third collection, The Night in Question, as well as several other astounding works. Now he returns with fresh revelations—about biding one’s time, experiencing first love, or burying one’s mother—that come to a variety of characters in circumstances at once everyday and extraordinary: a retired marine enrolled in college while her son trains for Iraq, a lawyer taking a difficult deposition, an American in Rome indulging the Gypsy who’s picked his pocket. In this potent new collection, as with his earlier work, Wolff displays his mastery over a quarter century, once again proving himself “a writer of the highest order: part storyteller, part philosopher, someone deeply engaged in asking hard questions that take a lifetime to resolve” (Los Angeles Times).

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An essential book which demonstrates the enduring talent of a truly great writer.”

    Spectator

  • “As good as anything Wolff has done…Wolff expertly uses irony and empathy to explore facets of contemporary life.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Anthony Heald brings the stories to life with vigor, offering fresh voices and complicated, flawed characters, each as original and believable as the last. Heald has a knack for performance, gifting each tale with his flare for theatrics…Listeners step inside all twenty-one tales and see the world as Wolff himself must have: heartbreaking, hilarious and even a little scary at times.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Wolff’s impeccable, precise style is well served by narrator Anthony Heald, who delivers these works not as if he’s reading but as if he’s actually ‘telling’ stories. His tone, his voices, and his rhythm all combine to make these works come alive. While many of Wolff’s stories have endings that are, well, less than satisfying, Heald makes the listening worthwhile, turning each [story] into a unique creation. This is a delightful example of how a narrator can enhance the text he reads.”

    AudioFile

  • Winner of the 2008 Story Prize for Short Fiction
  • A 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Delight | 2/15/2014

    " This was an amazing read. Tobias Wolff shines in this set of substantive short stories. I was blown away by all of the different kinds of characters he's conjured. All of the stories are about the human experience--and none wrap up all of the loose ends nicely. I could not put this book down--but like any good binge, the stories are probably best rationed out over a week or so rather than read from start to finish in a few days. Very satisfying and some of these stories will linger with me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Renee Blanchard | 2/11/2014

    " one of my favorite campaigners surprised me with my very own copy. great collection of short stories. read on the beach in Ocean City, MD this summer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathleen | 2/4/2014

    " Tobias has such breadth in his stories, literally all over the map. How can he seem like such a believable expert in so many areas and voices? I liked the fact that he included old and new stories separately. I was begging for more at some of the endings that left me hanging! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wim | 1/30/2014

    " Amazing, breathtaking. One of the most beautiful books read in the last years. Summum of storytelling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 1/29/2014

    " One of the best collections of short stories I remember reading. Most of them I read 2 or 3 times. My favourite of the collection has to be "Bullet in the Brain' (which I first heard in a New Yorker podcast) but there are many other gems here. Highly recommended. Can't believe I saw the hard cover edition heavily discounted in a local bookstore last weekend! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 1/19/2014

    " Affecting, well written stories; All about morality in some way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel | 1/19/2014

    " The newer stories were a little disappointing, but the older ones were flawlessly structured and absolutely brilliant. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff Goodman | 1/18/2014

    " sheesh i cant believe i bought this book a year ago and put it down--its in the trunk of my car!--i need to read it--he's a good writer-I'm just a lazy reader "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shannon | 1/2/2014

    " I chose this book during a recent trip to San Francisco because Wolff is a Bay-area writer. The collection combines old stories with new. I enjoyed the sense of place the earlier stories evoke, especially because many of the locations were familiar due to my travels in the city and beyond. However, most of the narratives are pretty dark, and in the windup I didn't enjoy the collection as much as I thought I might. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kurt | 12/30/2013

    " The new stories were better than the older stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christopher | 12/17/2013

    " I am loving these voices, these stories. Every tale holds true surprise. This is the drug I love. (Okay, I've read a few of these before. It's been a few years, though. I am reading Wolff this time with new eyes.) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aeron | 12/3/2013

    " How can someone write such perfect short stories? I don't know, but Tobias Wolff is a master of the form. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 10/20/2013

    " I enjoy everything I've read by Tobias Wolff. He is an excellent short story writer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 C. Paul | 10/12/2013

    " Story stories by a master American story-teller. Plain and simple. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandra | 8/31/2013

    " I am having a difficult time getting through this collection of short stories. Wolf is a wonderful writer, but the stories are dark and I have not been in the mood for dark. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne Scawthorn | 6/9/2013

    " The definitive short story - this is how they should always be but are usually lacking. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Warren Read | 1/26/2013

    " Can't wait. My favorite author and receiving this new book is like waiting at the airport gate for an old friend. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristina Kriss | 1/20/2013

    " Some of these stories were haunting and have stayed with me. I'm not a fan of short stories, but Wolff does them well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anna Mavromati | 9/28/2012

    " Another collection I've read a handful of stories out of and plan to return to. He's so good. So. Damn. Good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 sharon | 5/24/2012

    " some stories were great, others not but overall I enjoyed it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Siri Chateaubriand | 4/8/2012

    " Masterful storytelling. Tobias Wolff writes edgily about edgy characters keeping you enthralled and uncomfortable at the same time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Troy | 2/13/2012

    " The search for this book began when I heard the reading of his story "A Bullet To The Brain," and I was hooked. Some of these stories are better than the others, but he gives their characters some depth and I enjoyed a good 98% of them. A great intro to his work. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Cassie | 8/2/2011

    " Pointless story after pointless story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 5/22/2011

    " Affecting, well written stories; All about morality in some way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeremy | 4/15/2011

    " Awesome. This book has the greatest hits (minus a few I liked) from his previous three collections, and ten new stories written since the late 1990s, most of them originally appearing in The New Yorker. I'm just reading the new ones. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ke | 4/11/2011

    " The motif of dogs touched me. Mother seems to be an important part of his characters' lives. Issues with the lost father figure.

    He doesn't seem to know how to write the voice of other ethnicities. Military stories. Iraq stories. The themes seem to be autobiographical. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Liz | 1/8/2011

    " one of best short story writers of all time "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carmen | 12/16/2010

    " Five Favorites
    1. In the Garden of North American Martyrs
    2. The Liar
    3. The Rich Brother
    4. Bullet in the Brain
    5. Nightingale "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anna | 11/8/2010

    " Another collection I've read a handful of stories out of and plan to return to. He's so good. So. Damn. Good. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erik | 8/30/2010

    " I probably need to come back to this collection some day. Some of the stories were great. Most left me scratching my head. Wolff is an elusive writer--and, at this point, I'd say an overrated one--but I'm willing to admit that I just don't get it.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 George | 5/1/2010

    " a wonderful accessible voice across a wide range of characters and subjects. "

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About the Author
Author Tobias Wolff

Tobias Wolff is the author of several previous books and the editor of a growing list of anthologies. He has received numerous awards, among them the PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in the art of the short story. He lives in Northern California and teaches English and creative writing at Stanford University.

About the Narrator

Anthony Heald, an Audie Award–winning narrator, has earned Tony nominations and an Obie Award for his theater work; appeared in television’s Law & Order, The X-Files, Miami Vice, and Boston Public; and starred as Dr. Frederick Chilton in the 1991 Oscar-winning film The Silence of the Lambs. Heald has also won ten AudioFile Earphones Awards. He lives in Ashland, Oregon, with his family.