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When God Laughs: and other stories

Jack London

Book Overview: 

This collection of Jack London's short stories touches on a variety of topics, from his love of boxing, to relationships between criminals, to the trials of life and travel on many frontiers, to an allegory about a king who desired a nose. London is considered a master of the short story, a form much more to his liking and personality than his novels. He was active and quick of mind and the short story suited him well.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .e served as nurse and carried out his instructions.

It was a very severe attack, and it was a week before Johnny dressed and tottered feebly across the floor. Another week, the doctor said, and he would be fit to return to work. The foreman of the loom room visited him on Sunday afternoon, the first day of his convalescence. The best weaver in the room, the foreman told his mother. His job would be held for him. He could come back to work a week from Monday.

"Why don't you thank 'im, Johnny?" his mother asked anxiously.

"He's ben that sick he ain't himself yet," she explained apologetically to the visitor.

Johnny sat hunched up and gazing steadfastly at the floor. He sat in the same position long after the foreman had gone. It was warm outdoors, and he sat on the stoop in the afternoon. Sometimes his lips moved. He seemed lost in endless calculations.

Next morning, after the day grew warm, he took his seat on the stoo. . . Read More

Community Reviews

What a great read. I did not know that Jack London wrote sci-fi. One of the stories was set in the 2300. Telling about how workers were not allowed to be literate. Another story was set with a Captain not willing to turn about to save a fallen seamen even if he could make the move with no risk to...more

This collection of short stories manages to be both eclectic and linked. Every story involves death to some degree. From the tale of an aging boxer struggling to make ends meet to the story of a ship's captained so determined to make headway that he's willing to leave a man behind who fell overbo...more

I especially liked two stories in this collection- The Apostate and Just a Steak.


From tragedy to tragedy and swiftly moving, one short story at a time, from one wretchedness to another, London demonstrated an immense sense of creativity and comes out as a genuine connoisseur of details carefully selected to give the reader the impression that he is reading the hundredth page...more

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