Proper Library Criticism

Carolyn Ferrell
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At the time that “Proper Library” was first published, Carolyn Ferrell was just beginning her career as a published author. Tobias Wolff selected the story for Best American Short Stories, 1994, which brought Ferrell's work to the attention of Janet Silver, an editor at Houghton Mifflin. Silver asked Ferrell if she had a book manuscript, but Ferrell had just three stories to show her at the time. Those three stories were enough to earn a first book contract.

The book, Don't Erase Me, which was released in 1997, earned Ferrell both critical acclaim and awards. The journal Ploughshares, in which “Proper Library” was originally published, gave Don't Erase Me the John C. Zacharis First Book Award; the Los Angeles Times awarded it the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. In their praise of the collection, critics often mention Ferrell's talent for authentic dialogue. A reviewer from the Washington...

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This section contains 395 words
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Buy the Proper Library Study Guide
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