Olinger Stories

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First edition
(publ. Vintage Books) OlingerStories.jpg
First edition
(publ. Vintage Books)

Olinger Stories: A selection is a short story collection by John Updike. Vintage Books first published it in 1964.



The volume contained only one story newly published in book form—"In Football Season"—and otherwise brings together stories from Updike's previous collections.


The short stories, set in the fictional town of Olinger, Pennsylvania are in large part autobiographical, about a boy growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania, as Updike did. In an early interview, Updike once said, "they are dear to me, and if I had to give anyone one book of me it would be the Vintage Olinger Stories."

On Olinger Stories

In the Vintage edition foreword, Updike explains, "Three of these stories are from my collection, The Same Door; seven are from Pigeon Feathers and Other Stories; and one, the last, has not previously been included in any book. All were first printed in The New Yorker. They have been arranged here in the order of the hero's age; in the beginning he is ten, in the middle stories he is an adolescent, in the end he has reached manhood. He wears different names and his circumstances vary, but he is at bottom the same boy, a local boy—this selection could be called A Local Boy. The locality is that of Olinger, Pennsylvania, a small town bounded on the urban side by Alton and on the rural side by Firetown. The name Olinger (pronounced with a long O, a hard g, and the emphasis on the first syllable) was coined, to cap a rebuke, in a story called 'The Alligators'. . . Fiction must recommend itself or remain unrecommended. But if of my stories I had to pick a few to represent me, they would, I suppose, for reasons only partially personal, be these." [1]

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  1. Olinger Stories: A Selection. New York: Vintage Books. 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2021.