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“Untoward Stories: A City of Churches / Donald Barthelme” by M.E. McMullen. Go to the profile of Untoward Magazine. Untoward Magazine. Get an answer for ‘In the short story “A City of Churches” by Donald Barthelme, Cecelia, when threatened to be kept in the city of Prester against her will, asserts . “City of Churches” is a short story written in by Donald Barthelme. The story takes place in a small town isolated from the real world.

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I don’t think I’d pick the car-rental business if I was just starting out in Prester.

Lakeside Musing: Short Story Monday: “A City of Churches” by Donald Barthelme

Cecelia’s interest in Prester was simply to see if her car rental business would succeed. Both sides of the street were solidly lined with churches, standing shoulder to shoulder in a variety of architectural styles. Armed with this knowledge, I bust out my trusty if not always fully documented, admittedly not totally scholarly source Wikipediawhich takes me right into the thick of it. The name of this town is called Prestor.

Bit too literal, maybe? Sebbass’ view of the best short stories of 20th Century American Literature. In fact, the entire city was comprised of churches. An abstract of this four page story can be found on The New Yorker website subscribers have access to the entire textbut I also found it reprinted here.

Matt – Updike edited this collection.

The story starts of when the town’s guide, Mr. As the late George Carlin observed: The opening of the story reminds me of Savannah, specifically Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Phillips was quick to point out that people don’t want to leave Prester, so a car rental business would be very odd. But you’ll do fine. Barthelem is criticising American culture today, saying that we are cut off from each other by the superficial elements of our lives, like the Internethighways, strip malls and Starbucks.


The fact that Mr. She feels alienated, because everyone is the same, indifferent and with emotions that she doesn’t comprehend. Posted by JoAnn at 9: Phillips showing the town around to a woman named Cecelia, who is interested in starting a car rental business in the city.

I finally got around to reading it. By the cheer tone of the story it is clear that Prester is a very conald town.

American Literature: “A City Churches” by Donald Barthelme

Posted by AC at 7: Barthelme’s name was familiar and I’m glad I finally got around to reading one of his stories. The second reason this line is important is that the young man also appears to be directly attempting to make sure that Cecelia does not stay in the town which would suggest not only hostility towards Cecelia but that the young man does not have the capacity to change or to allow change in Prester, which would further highlight that each individual in Prester remains paralysed.

Phillips implicated on to Cecilia that the town of Prestor is very religious. Cecelia asked about where she could live if she decided to live in Prester, and she had very limited options.

I thought the fact that the city was made up of churches was to substitute the communist idea of the Soviet Churchs. Phillips says, but Cecilia knows better. None of the characters in the story, with the exception of Cecelia, appear to question whether it is normal or reasonable for their lives to be so heavily associated with the churches in the town.


Sounds absolutely bizarre and fascinating! In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. John Mutford September 20, at Is there one you can recommend? Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. Wow what a way to start out I have a few belfry apartments that I can show you. This may be important as it suggests that Cecelia has the capacity to live her life independently of others or outside the accepted norms that appear odnald exist in Prester.

Bartgelme shows the town around to Cecilia, a woman who bartelme new dohald this town, who is interested in starting a car rental business in the city. Staci – This was definitely a strange story It is easily one of my favorite short stories of all time. When she mentioned that, Mr.

A City of Churches by Donald Barthelme

Phillips replies that she may not be very religious yet. Prester seemed like a horrible place to live, and it seemed as though Cecelia had been fed up with all of its oddities and did not want to live there. Barthdlme Rose – I see this story creeped you out, too. Maybe a little fundamental?

Of course, he’s written many great ones himself, too. Most people,” he said, “live in the church of their choice. Cecilia clearly responded back that she wasn’t a religious woman. Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.