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All the Time in the World

Cover of All the Time in the World

All the Time in the World

New and Selected Stories
Borrow Borrow Borrow

From a master of modern American letters comes an enthralling collection of brilliant short fiction about people who, as E. L. Doctorow notes in his Preface, are somehow "distinct from their surroundings--people in some sort of contest with the prevailing world." Containing six unforgettable stories that have never appeared in book form, and a selection of previous classics, All the Time in the World is resonant with the mystery, tension, and moral investigation that distinguish the fiction of E. L. Doctorow.

A reader's guide can be found online at
RandomHouseReadersCircle.com

From a master of modern American letters comes an enthralling collection of brilliant short fiction about people who, as E. L. Doctorow notes in his Preface, are somehow "distinct from their surroundings--people in some sort of contest with the prevailing world." Containing six unforgettable stories that have never appeared in book form, and a selection of previous classics, All the Time in the World is resonant with the mystery, tension, and moral investigation that distinguish the fiction of E. L. Doctorow.

A reader's guide can be found online at
RandomHouseReadersCircle.com

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter 1

    Wakefield

    People will say that i left my wife and i suppose, as a factual matter, I did, but where was the intentionality? I had no thought of deserting her. It was a series of odd circumstances that put me in the garage attic with all the junk furniture and the raccoon droppings-which is how I began to leave her, all unknowing, of course- whereas I could have walked in the door as I had done every evening after work in the fourteen years and two children of our marriage. Diana would think of her last sight of me, that same morning, when she pulled up to the station and slammed on the brakes, and I got out of the car and, before closing the door, leaned in with a cryptic smile to say good-bye-she would think that I had left her from that moment. In fact, I was ready to let bygones be bygones and, in another fact, I came home the very same evening with every expectation of entering the house that I, we, had bought for the raising of our children. And, to be absolutely honest, I remember I was feeling that kind of blood stir you get in anticipation of sex, because marital arguments had that effect on me.

    Of course, the deep change of heart can come over anyone, and I don't see why, like everything else, it wouldn't be in character. After having lived dutifully by the rules, couldn't a man shaken out of his routine and distracted by a noise in his backyard veer away from one door and into another as the first step in the transformation of his life? And look what I was transformed into-hardly something to satisfy a judgment of normal male perfidy.

    I will say here that at this moment I love Diana more truthfully than ever in our lives together, including the day of our wedding, when she was so incredibly beautiful in white lace with the sun coming down through the stained glass and setting a rainbow choker on her throat.

    On the particular evening I speak of-this thing with the 5:38, when the last car, where I happened to be sitting, did not move off with the rest of the train? Even given the sorry state of the railroads in this country, tell me when that has happened. Every seat taken, and we sat there in the sudden dark and turned to one another for an explanation, as the rest of the train disappeared into the tunnel. It was the bare, fluorescent-lit concrete platform outside that added to the suggestion of imprisonment. Someone laughed, but in a moment several passengers were up and banging on the doors and windows until a man in a uniform came down the ramp and peered in at us with his hands cupped at his temples.

    And then when I do get home, an hour and a half later, I am nearly blinded by the headlights of all the SUVs and taxis waiting at the station: under an unnaturally black sky is this lateral plane of illumination, because, as it turns out, we have a power outage in town.

    Well, it was an entirely unrelated mishap. I knew that, but when you're tired after a long day and trying to get home there's a kind of Doppler effect in the mind, and you think that these disconnects are the trajectory of a collapsing civilization.

    I set out on my walk home. Once the procession of commuter pickups with their flaring headlights had passed, everything was silent and dark-the groomed shops on the main street, the courthouse, the gas stations trimmed with hedges, the Gothic prep school behind the lake. Then I was out of the town center and walking the winding residential streets. My neighborhood was an old section of town, the houses large, mostly Victorian, with dormers and wraparound porches and separate garages that had once been stables. Each house was set off on a knoll or well back from the street, with stands of lean trees dividing...

About the Author-
  • E. L. Doctorow's novels include Homer & Langley, The March, City of God, The Waterworks, Welcome to Hard Times, The Book of Daniel, Ragtime, Loon Lake, Lives of the Poets, World's Fair, and Billy Bathgate. Among his honors are the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle awards, two PEN/Faulkner awards, the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal. E. L. Doctorow lives in New York City.

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    Random House Publishing Group
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E.L. Doctorow
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