The Play and Other Stories

Stories by Stephen Dixon

November 1, 1988 • 5.5 x 8.5 • 160 pages • 978-0-918273-45-1

These tough urban tales present characters beset by bizarre bureaucracies, real and imagined city violence, and private hells of their own making. A man who witnesses a baby falling to its death from an apartment building begins to hallucinate his own child tumbling from his apartment window—he finally has to leave the city to retain his sanity. Evicted from his apartment and dumped by his lover, another character is offered ten thousand dollars by an eccentric, only to be arrested for counterfeiting. Unifying these seventeen stories is the characters’ ability to find inner reserves that enable them to continue their struggle to make an uneasy peace with friends, lovers, the city, and themselves.

About the Author

Stephen Dixon is a two-time finalist for the National Book Award, for Frog and Interstate, and the author of twenty books, including The Play and Other Stories and Sleep by Coffee House Press. His short works have previously appeared in many publications, including Harper’s, Triquarterly, and Best American Short Stories.


“Dixon demands the attention of his readers and assumes their basic intelligence. His stories have been aptly compared to silent films: as in early silent movies, action, gestures, movement, dialogue are—by the author’s highly controlled and rhythmic narrative—temporarily frozen, yet never isolated.” Publishers Weekly

“[Dixon’s work] examines the human spirit stretched to its limits, ultimately justifying a life for no more reason than the fact that it is being lived. It is a recipe for living life on one’s own terms or dying trying. It’s what happens when homo urbanus tries to preserve a code of honor without a coat of honor.” —Michael Heaton, Cleveland Plain Dealer