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A Master Storyteller With More Tales to Tell

Book Tour is a Web feature and podcast. Each week, we present leading authors of fiction and nonfiction as they read from and discuss their work.

Writer Tobias Wolff is perhaps best known for his powerful 1989 memoir, This Boy's Life, in which he recounts a grim, misspent youth. Upon publication, critics proclaimed the book a masterpiece; Hollywood later adapted it into a movie starring Robert De Niro and a young Leonardo DiCaprio.

Wolff's short stories, spread over four previous collections, have earned equal praise. He is a watchful writer who hones in on disturbing details and characters saddened by experience. Regularly compared with writers such as Raymond Carver and Alice Munro, Wolff has declared the short story as "the perfect American form."

Our Story Begins is Wolff's first short fiction collection in more than a decade. Featuring 21 classic pieces of his earlier work along with 10 new stories, it's part "greatest hits" and part revelations.

Born in Alabama, Wolff moved frequently, was kicked out of a prestigious prep school and served in the Special Forces during the Vietnam War. Later, he studied at Oxford and Stanford Universities.

This reading of Our Story Begins took place in April 2008 at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C.

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