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Dictionary Stories

Short Fictions and Other Findings

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About the Book

A collection of very short stories composed entirely of example sentences from various dictionaries, perfect for fans of The Lover's Dictionary and The Interrogative Mood: A Novel?

Dictionary Stories brings to literature the spirit of the musical mashup, digging in the crates to find old hooks and arrange them into new delights with an appeal that’s not merely academic but truly pop. This kind of work reminds us: it’s all there, love and disappointment and deep humor, latent in our language and its storehouses; but it takes a keen eye to connect the dots. Jez Burrows is keen indeed.”   — Robin Sloan, New York Times bestselling author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

One day, while looking up a word in the New Oxford American Dictionary, Jez Burrows was stopped in his tracks by an example sentence: “He perched on the edge of the bed, a study in confusion and misery.” It seemed like a tiny piece of fiction had gotten lost, wandered out of another book and settled down in the dictionary. With that spark, and a handful of experimental stories posted to Tumblr, Dictionary Stories was born.

Genre-bending and wildly inventive, Dictionary Stories is a giddy celebration of the originality, flexibility, and beauty of narrative. Love stories, horror stories, noir mysteries, recipes, eulogies, confessions, thrillers—each one a miniature literary remix of unlikely parts hidden in plain sight, created by flipping through the dictionary and knowing where to stop.

Burrows is a master of immersive, immediate narratives. Effortlessly transcending sentence level, he lights between the profound and the absurd with a few carefully assembled sentences, transporting readers into moments, worlds, and experiences of remarkable variety. From the everyday (dating, family, jealousy, memory) to the extraordinary (the apocalypse, fantasies, murder, the occult).

Organized alphabetically by theme and featuring original illustrations by the author, this continually surprising and wonderfully weird collection glows with humor, emotion, and intellect. Dictionary Stories will speak to language lovers, creative minds, and anyone who has ever appreciated the power of small things. 

“Jez has long been one of my favorite illustrators, and now he comes up with Dictionary Stories—sentences stolen from dictionaries and pasted together into tiny, delightful narratives. A brilliant literary remix.”—Austin Kleon, New York Times bestselling author of Steal Like an Artist

 

 

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Critical Praise

“A revelation in remix; a book of joyous recombinations.” —Robin Sloan, New York Times bestselling author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Dictionary Stories isn’t just a book for word nerds, but for anyone for whom language and story matter. Everybody, A-Z, will find themselves thoroughly in love with this book.” —Kory Stamper, lexicographer and editor for Merriam-Webster, and author of Word by Word

“Jez has long been one of my favorite illustrators, and now he comes up with Dictionary Stories—sentences stolen from dictionaries and pasted together into tiny, delightful narratives. A brilliant literary remix.” —Austin Kleon, New York Times bestselling author of Steal Like an Artist

“Until you read Dictionary Stories, you’ll never understand just how weird the dictionary really is. Jez Burrows’ Dictionary Stories is all of human emotion and experience, handily arranged in alphabetical order” —Erin McKean, former editor of the New Oxford American Dictionary and founder of Wordnik

“Brilliantly, brazenly fun. Like a cabaret for word lovers.” —Sean Michaels, author of Giller Prize-winning novel Us Conductors

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062652614
  • ISBN 10: 0062652613
  • Imprint: Harper Perennial
  • On Sale: 04/10/2018
  • Pages: 256
  • List Price: 19.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: FICTION / Short Stories (single author)
  • BISAC2: FICTION / Humorous / General
  • BISAC3: FICTION / Mashups

Dictionary Stories by Jez Burrows

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