Philadelphia Inquirer: "One of the most stimulating practitioners of the [short story] form..."

"Richard Burgin's fourth book of short fiction solidifies his reputation as one of America's most distinctive storytellers... I can think of no one else of his generation who reports the contemporary war between the sexes with more devastating wit and accuracy."


The Spirit Returns is the fourth collection of original short fiction from Richard Burgin. His characters are everyday people at emotional and psychological crossroads.  Most of the characters in these 11 hard-edged stories fall well outside our culture's conception of normalcy.  Lonely, damaged people who desire love and intimacy, they're doomed to thwart every opportunity for connection.

    -  In "The Liar", a man opening up to a dinner companion is reminded of the emptiness of his own life when the promise of emotional intimacy unexpectedly goes unfulfilled.
    -  In "Carbo's", a couple on a blind date face their own gender prejudices, past disappointments, and sexual expectations.
    -  In "Miles" (the Pushcart Prize winner), a lonely young businessman becomes mixed up with a volatile airport shuttle driver and his damaged sister.
    -  In "The Spirit Returns", the title story, a man who takes an unusual pleasure out of frightening strangers is forced to deal with his own fears when he shares this pleasure with one of those strangers.
    -  In "The Ignorant Girl", a lonely man almost develops a relationship with a battered woman, but eventually each goes their own desolate way.

Publisher's Weekly:  "These are flawed but genuine individuals, rooted in honesty and compassion, and the lines of their compelling stories trace journeys through insecurity, despair, and ultimately, hope.  Richard Burgin writes crisp and intelligent dialogue and description, and he handles disconcerting situations with deadpan ease.  Reminiscent of Mary Gaitskill's protagonists in Bad Behavior, his characters - alone, alienated, desolate and desperate - come alive on the page."

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New York Times Book Review:  "The 11 tightly controlled stories in Richard Burgin's third collection present characters of such variety that no generalizations about them can apply. Throughout this arresting volume [Fear of Blue Skies], Burgin is sensitive to the infinite brands of human error... as well as to our rare redemptive moments of resilience and understanding."


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"Richard Burgin is the king of bad behavior... like Patricia Highsmith's or Paul Bowles', Burgin's tremendous gift is his ability to portray perversity and guilt with a disarmingly subtle touch... Gloria Vanderbilt provides some stunning images, complementing Burgin's horrific stories nicely"  -Pleiades

"Burgin's up to his old standards and tricks: technically adept, imaginatively resourceful, painstakingly clear, forceful, clever, cunning and dramatic.  But he's never been so sinister, scary, macabre, bizarre, kinky and gripping.  His work here melds well with Vanderbilt's Dream Boxes, one complementing the other while each also stands as high, serious art."  -Stephen Dixon

Signed, Limited Edition copies available for $35.
Please send check to:

Richard Burgin
7545 Cromwell Drive - Apt 2N
St. Louis, MO  63105

Also available at the same price from:

GVC Designs
30 Beekman Place
New York, NY  10022-6080

For additional information, please call: 314-862-2643



Praise for Richard Burgin’s fiction:


“One of America’s most distinctive storytellers… I can think of no one else of his generation who reports the contemporary war between the sexes with more devastating wit and accuracy.”  The Philadelphia Inquirer

“A writer at once elegant and disturbing, Burgin is among our finest artists of love at its most desperate and his stories have won five Pushcart Prizes.”  The Chicago Tribune


“Richard Burgin’s tales capture the strangeness of a world that is simultaneously frightening and reassuring and in the contemporary American short story nothing quite resembles his singular voice.” The Boston Globe

“Burgin has given expression to a chorus of alienated voices too haunting to be easily forgotten.”  The New York Times Book Review

5-1/2  x 8-1/2, 330 pp

$24.95 hardback CD included

Distributed by W.W. Norton


Ontario Review Press

Tel:  609-737-7497

Fax:  609-737-2695





Order this book:
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Order this book:
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Order this book:
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Order this book:
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New by Richard Burgin:

The Conference on Beautiful Moments

Click below to see The Conference on Beautiful Moments on the publisher's website:


The Johns Hopkins University Press


Books by Richard Burgin

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