Frederick Barthelme's third book is a textbook example of what has come to be called minimalist fiction. It does not follow that Tracer is better than the best works by Raymond Carver, Ann Beattie, Mary Robison or Frederick's older brother Donald. They are among the most prominent writers who have experimented in various ways with the notion that in storytelling, less is both more and positively too much. But those who are curious about what the minimalists are up or down to can learn a lot by starting right here.

The first lesson is that television has replaced clocks and calendars...

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