Robert Coover is an American novelist, short story writer, and professor emeritus in the literary arts program at Brown University. He is known for his experimental fiction and playful, postmodern style. Coover's works often explore and parody various narrative forms and genres, including fairy tales, folklore, and historical fiction. Some of his notable works include 'The Origin of the Brunists', 'The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop.', and 'The Public Burning'.
This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.
This book is a collection of short stories that blend elements of American folklore, historical realities, and contemporary life into a unique, surreal, and often disturbing narrative. The author uses a mix of traditional and experimental storytelling techniques to explore themes such as love, death, and the nature of reality. The stories often feature bizarre, dreamlike scenarios and characters, challenging readers to question their assumptions and perceptions.
The book revolves around J. Henry Waugh, an accountant who immerses himself in an intricate, self-created dice-based baseball game, where he serves as the all-knowing creator. His fantasy world, the Universal Baseball Association, is a meticulous escape from his mundane life, complete with teams, players, and statistics that are as real to him as anything in the actual world. As he delves deeper into his game, the line between reality and fantasy blurs, leading to an obsession that challenges his grasp on sanity and forces him to confront the complexities of chance, free will, and the human need for meaning and control.
The book is a surreal and repetitive narrative that delves into the complex power dynamics between a maid and her employer. Each day, the maid attempts to perform her duties perfectly, cleaning her employer's house, but invariably fails, leading to her being spanked for her transgressions. The story unfolds in a cyclical pattern, exploring themes of obsession, ritual, dominance, and submission. The interactions between the characters are charged with psychological tension, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy, as the reader is drawn into the strange, dream-like world of the maid's never-ending struggle for perfection and the employer's insatiable need for control.
"The Public Burning" is a historical fiction novel that focuses on the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg during the Cold War era. The narrative intertwines factual events with fictional elements, including the character of Uncle Sam, who serves as one of the narrators. The book explores themes of political power, justice, and the media's role in shaping public perception. It is a satirical critique of American society and politics in the 1950s.
The book centers on Henry Waugh, an accountant who creates his own fantasy baseball league. He designs an elaborate system of dice rolls to determine the outcomes of games and even the life events of the players, and grows increasingly obsessed with his creation. As the line between his real life and the world of the Universal Baseball Association blurs, Waugh experiences a series of tragedies and triumphs that mirror the unpredictability and drama of a real-life baseball season.