For such a funny and formally inventive writer, Donald Barthelme managed to evoke with wistfulness the everyday sadness of much of contemporary life. His stories were so original that I find it hard to credit that so many of them were first published in The New Yorker, where it is in any case difficult to get published at all, but in addition to which the literary values are decidedly traditional. I’ve read Forty Stories, and from it, many times. I haven’t read its predecessor Sixty Stories, but I hope to do so before I die. And also to reread yet again Forty Stories.