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Say Yes Essay & Criticism

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Critical Overview

Wolff's first short story collection, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, was published in 1981. When Back in the World, which collected "Say Yes," was published four years later, many reviewers commented on how it differed from its predecessor. Mona Simpson writes in the New Republic that she finds the second batch of stories to be "in a more somber mode." They "feel omniscient," she says, "universal, with biblical resonance." She continues, "In these new stories, Wolff works with the same thematic concerns, the same passion for moral questions, but his fictional canvas is sparer and simpler. . . . He has chosen more dramatic, emblematic characters." These characteristics, according to Simpson, add a new power to Wolff's work. She sums up Back in the World as a collection of "stripped-down moral fables."

Geoff Dyer, writing for the New Statesman, finds this collection far superior to the first, calling the...

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This section contains 769 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Say Yes Study Guide
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Say Yes from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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