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The Solipsist

I like short stories, and Tobias Wolff is one of my favorite authors. I don't often reread stories, but I've reread his story "The Liar" numerous times. Here's a taste:

"Then again maybe I haven't done anything wrong, I don't know what to think anymore. Nobody does."

"I know what to think," Mother said.

"So does the solipsist. How can you prove to a solipsist that he's not creating the rest of us?"

This was one of Dr. Murphy's favorite riddles, and almost any pretext was sufficient for him to trot it out. He was a child with a card trick.

"Send him to bed without dinner," Mother said. "Let him create that."

The story is found in numerous anthologies and of course in Wolff's books like Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories, but "American Short Story Masterpieces," edited by Raymond Carver and Tom Jenks is a nice way to get the story. The collection leans towards the realist side of storytelling, and includes stories by many of my favorite authors.


 

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