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'One of the most soulful writers in America, and a national treasure' George Saunders From a master of the short story, this is a beguiling collection of nineteen tales about growing up, wising up and falling in love

'One of the most soulful writers in America, and a national treasure' George Saunders

Nineteen tales of growing up, wising up, and falling in love, spanning more than three decades of prize-winning work by a North American master of the short story

The Start of Something is a visionary work following the lovelorn beatniks, hard-boiled gangsters and jaded academics of America, journeying through a haze of drugs, dreams and lucid memory. Seductive and freewheeling, each story glittering with the found poetry of the street, this is the definitive introduction to a life’s work by a writer who has re-enchanted short fiction with every new collection.


A poet of the short story, Stuart Dybek is a strange and exceptional talent… Impressive.

Phil Baker, Sunday Times

One of the most soulful writers in America, and a national treasure

George Saunders

[Dybek’s stories] are strikingly with-it, distinctly 21st century in their shape and method… Dybek has also always stirred understated, powerfully realized and ravishingly beautiful images almost casually into his work.

Kate Clanchy, Guardian

[The Start of Something is] worth leaping on.

Hephzibah Anderson, Observer

A great deal of the art of the short story is to do with exits and entrances… [Dybek] has a knack for getting both things right… Dybek is – and this he certainly has in common with Ishiguro – a writer doing completely his own thing.

Sam Leith, Financial Times

Life in Dybek’s world is messy, and sometimes criminal, but full of heart.

William Leith, Evening Standard

Dybek has an uncommon knack for both the short story and the poem. This collection mostly plumbs his American youth, producing mesmeric stories in which enchanting details leap off every page.

Daily Telegraph

Crafted, well-made stories that give permanence to those fleeting moments that define lives.

James Doyle, Bookmunch

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    November 15, 2017


    352 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    November 3, 2016

    Vintage Digital

    352 pages

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