The Rainbow Stories

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The Rainbow Stories
Author William T Vollmann
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Atheneum Books
Publication date
January 1989
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 544pp
ISBN 978-0-689-11961-3
Preceded by You Bright and Risen Angels
Followed by The Ice-Shirt

The Rainbow Stories is a collection of short stories about American culture[1] written by William T. Vollmann and published in 1989. Written in the style of narrative journalism,[2] it was his second published fictional work, preceded by You Bright and Risen Angels.[2] The book consists of thirteen interlocking stories (based on the colours of the rainbow) that range in scope from ancient Babylon to modern San Francisco.[2][3][4][5] Steven Moore wrote of the book that "Vollmann's verbal prowess, empathy, and astonishing range put him in a class apart from his contemporaries."[6] Robert Rebein described the book as a "real breakthrough"[7] for Vollman, stating: "[Rainbow Stories is] a book that mixed reportorial and fictional techniques to powerfully evoke the lives of prostitutes and skinheads on the streets of San Francisco's Tenderloin district."[7]


  1. ^ Mason, Fran (2009). The A to Z of Postmodernist Literature and Theater. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 337. ISBN 0-8108-6855-5.
  2. ^ a b c Hemmingson, Michael (2009). William T. Vollmann: A Critical Study and Seven Interviews. McFarland & Company. pp. 22–30. ISBN 0-7864-4025-2.
  3. ^ LeClaira, Tom (1996). "The Prodigious Fiction of Richard Powers, William Vollmann, and David Foster Wallace". Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction. 38 (1): 12–37. doi:10.1080/00111619.1996.9936496.
  4. ^ James, Caryn (August 13, 1989). "'The Rainbow Stories'". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  5. ^ Eder, Richard (July 16, 1989). "The Yawp of Reason". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ Moore, Steven (Summer 1989). "The Rainbow Stories: Review of Contemporary Fiction". Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  7. ^ a b Rebein, Robert (2002). Hicks, Tribes, and Dirty Realists: American Fiction After Postmodernism. Scholarly Book Services Inc. p. 54. ISBN 0-8131-2176-0.