Tobias Wolff

Master of the short story, author of the acclaimed memoir This Boy’s Life set (and later filmed) in his boyhood home of Concrete, Wash., Tobias Wolff now publishes his first new collection in over a decade: Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories (Knopf, $26.95). It gathers the best from three earlier volumes, including O. Henry-winning stories like “Next Door” and “Sister.” (Twenty-one have been published before; ten are new.) Wolff’s spare and lucid prose cuts through his characters with humane precision. He expertly manages, as in the classic “Hunters in the Snow,” the kind of tragic turns that lesser writers avoid or taint with lavish flourishes. In as few as six pages, Wolff creates believable worlds of violent, troublesome characters. Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 624-6600, Free. 7:30 p.m. KARLA STARR

Fri., April 18, 7:30 p.m., 2008

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