Blue Collar, White Collar, No Collar: Stories of Work
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Edited byRichard Ford and featuring stories by Russell Banks, Alice Munro, Tobias Wolff,Jhumpa Lahiri, JohnCheever, and many others, Blue Collar,White Collar, No Collar is a profound and groundbreaking anthologyexploring resonant themes of employment, service, and daily obligations asunique windows into our culture, our society, and our very humanity. With ashare of proceeds going to assist the literacynonprofit 826Michigan, this unforgettable collection of short fiction from manyof contemporary literature’s most powerful authors limns the diverse meanings of work in American culture today, even as itlooks to the future of the American workforce and its capacity to succeedcreatively tomorrow.
’41, when people at home were looking for Japs under their beds every night. I did not want to fight because there was no money in it and I didn’t want to go overseas to work in a kitchen. The big war was on and a lot of soldiers crossed the country to get to it, and as long as a black man fed them on trains he did not have to go to that war. I could have got a job in a Chicago factory, but there was more money on the road and it was safer. And after a while it got into your blood so that you
coat. On the back of his light hair he had a wide filthy black hat which seemed to insult Bowman’s own. He pushed down the dogs from his chest. He was strong, with dignity and heaviness in his way of moving. . . . There was the resemblance to his mother. They stood side by side. . . . He must account again for his presence here. “Sonny, this man, he had his car to run off over the prec’pice an’ wants to know if you will git it out for him,” the woman said after a few minutes. Bowman could not
then he went out to the living-room sofa and settled himself there with a magazine, taking very slow, deep breaths to show how self-controlled he was. In a minute she came in to join him, her apron removed and her lipstick replenished, bringing the cocktail pitcher full of ice. “Oh,” she said with a sigh. “Thank God that’s over. Now for a little peace and quiet.” “I’ll get the drinks, honey,” he said, bolting to his feet. He had hoped his voice might sound normal now, but it still came out with
throbbed. He winced and, rubbing his forehead, looked down at the page in front of him: I do not mean that there is any lack of wealthy individuals in the United Stales; I know of no country, indeed, where the love of money has taken stronger hold on the affections of men and where a profounder contempt is expressed for the theory of the permanent equality of property. But wealth circulates with inconceivable rapidity, and experience shows that it is rare to find two succeeding generations in
also had me up on a ladder, scraping away the peeling orange paint of the store’s exterior. The paint chips would fly off into my eyes and hair, and it took me until Thursday to get smart about wearing a stocking cap and the goggles my father had once used. Saturday morning I woke up happy. Again, I was there waiting for her to open up and again I did all the shit work while she chatted and made nice-nice with all the customers. I had already planned my weekend, had, in my mind, spent every