Home and Beyond
An Anthology of Kentucky Short Stories
Publication Year: 2013
With an introduction by Wade Hall
Morris Grubbs has sifted through vintage classics, little-known gems, and stunning debuts to assemble this collection of forty stories by popular and critically acclaimed writers. In subtle and profound ways they challenge and overturn accepted stereotypes about the land their authors call home, whether by birth or by choice. Kentucky writers have produced some of the finest short stories published in the last fifty years, much of which focuses on the tension between the comforts of community and the siren-like lure of the outside world. Arranged chronologically, from Robert Penn Warren's "Blackberry Winter" to Crystal E. Wilkinson's "Humming Back Yesterday," these stories are linked by their juxtaposition of departures and returns, the familiar and the unknown, home and beyond.
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
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Celebrating the modern American short story as penned by forty Kentucky writers, Home and Beyond offers us glimpses into the secret yearnings of the heart-and heartland. The stories collected here reflect life in later-twentieth-century Kentucky and America, but they spring from humanity's eternal questions: central among them, how do we balance our powerful...
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In this collection of short stories, Morris A. Grubbs has prepared a literary feast for readers of varied tastes. There are short short stories and long short stories. There are styles as complex as Faulkner, as plain as Hemingway, and as experimental as John Dos Passos. There are characters you will love and admire and those you will despise, some you will want to take home as permanent...
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There was loneliness in the dark hills when the wind stirred the withered leaves on the trees. It was music to me. It was poetry. It hangs to me better than a piece of clothing It was the fall or winter of 1945-46 just after the war, and even if one had had no hand in the bloodletting, there was the sense that the world, and one's own life, would never be the same again .... [W]hat had started out for me as, perhaps, an ...
Blackberry Winter (1946)
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It was getting into June and past eight o' dock in the morning, but there was a fireeven if it wasn't a big fire, just a fire of chunks-on the hearth of the big stone fireplace in the living room. I was standing on the hearth, almost into the chimney, hunched over the fire, working my bare toes slowly on the warm stone. I relished...
The Petrified Woman (1947)
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We were sitting on the porch at the Fork-it is where two creeks meet-after supper, talking about our family reunion. It was to be held at a place called Arthur's Cave that year (it has the largest entrance in the world, though it is not so famous as Mammoth), and there was to be a big picnic dinner, and we expected all our kin and connections to come, some of them from as far off...
The Nest (1948)
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Nezzie Hargis rested on a clump of broomsage and rubbed her numb hands. Her cheeks smarted and her feet had become a burden. Wind flowed with the sound of water through trees high on the ridge and the sun appeared caught in the leafless branches. Cow paths wound the slope, a puzzle of trails going nowhere. She thought, "If ever I could...
The Men (1948)
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I remember when I was eleven years old and attended a ballet for the first time. It was held at the Memorial Auditorium, a large building in the town where I lived. During the first group of dances, I sat up very high in the balcony with my family and the stage seemed too far away. It was a pretty show at such a distance, but the dancers with their bright dots of costumes...
Evenings at Home (1948)
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I am here in Kentucky with my family for the first time in a number of years and, naturally, I am quite uncomfortable, but not in the way I had anticipated before leaving New York. The thing that startles me is that I am completely free and can do and say exactly what I wish. This freedom leads me to the bewildering conclusion...
Anthem of the Locusts (1949)
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Logan Roberts laid his .22 rifle beside him on top of the flat sandstone rock and lit a cigarette, wondering why people in the camp disliked the sound of the locusts so much. Some of the people said their whirring was like a million rattlesnakes going at once, while others complained that they drowned the singing of the birds and that you couldn't hear your...
Lost Land of Youth (1950)
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Bert mused on his own fate as he drove along, looking at the old tobacco barns filled with bright burley. He observed the tobacco stubble on the rugged slopes and the little creek bottoms. These were the same places tobacco grew when he was a boy. But the valley had changed. The giant timber was replaced by second growth on the...
Fur in the Hickory (1953)
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"You can talk about that new repeating rifle of yours all you want," the old man said to the boy as they made their way up the slope of the hill toward the ridge where the shagbark hickories grew. "It's your gun and only natural that you ought to have some feeling for it. But me? When I go for squirrel I aim to put meat on the table. You don't see me carrying a repeating rifle...
The Gift (1957)
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Nearly every day she went out to the big gate and waited for him to come swinging home across the prairie. She climbed to the post and sat there patiently, her hands folded in her lap. She was a round, apple-cheeked little girl, not very tall for eight. But when she waited for Jeff to come home, she felt slender and tall and fair like...
The Fourth at Getup (1960)
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It was the Fourth of July there in Getup, Montana, and we had just had a parade that everyone said was pretty good even if a little long on ranch machinery and saddle stock and short on fancy works. The rodeo would come later. Now people were just milling around, shouting hello and having some horseplay the way they do when they are feeling free and...
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You will see their secret faces, hear their silent voices, and taste the truth they bit from the blood-red apple. But no Garden of Eden for those [Gideon's] children, or for us, either. It is never easy to enter other people's lives; it is harder to try to understand them. What does make them simple, complicated, superorganized or completely unstructured? Like Lucifer falling, we feel at a loss to understand How, ...
The Vireo's Nest (1960)
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The rustic slab at the entrance to the camp said Artist's Colony of Kentucky. On either side of the word Kentucky stood a stylized mountain. The sign had been painted in neat thin letters by a girl who, ten years later, was given a show at the Mexican-American Cultural Institute as well as the Sharonville Public Library. That is why Dr. Thornton, the founder and director of the colony, kept...
The Little-Known Bird of the Inner Eye (1961)
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He does not know that I exist. Or if he does, he must see me the way a wild canary sees a bird-watcher, through the big end of the field glasses, a tiny thing a million miles away, while the canary becomes, to the watcher, enormous, framed in a double-vision circle bigger than the earth. But once he did. For three whole days he knew me, and we even almost talked once...
Bare Bones (1965)
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Lilly Morrison had been divorced for almost a year. In the beginning she had wanted it, impatient of delays, as though the divorce -were her reward for three years of marriage. But when the reward fell due and she was finally alone, she almost regretted it. Not him-she seldom thought of him, her gentle, dark husband. Him she did not even miss. But for a long time she felt lost without the life...
White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (1967)
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Here comes Hampden now, on his way to kill me. He staggers past Minetta's Tavern, the long red and white banner of the Gaslight Cafe, the green oval sign of the Kettle of Fish. Now Rienzi's Coffee House with its disarrayed chessboards and miscegenous couples drooped in the scummed windows, and the Funky Antique Shop. And now the Folklore Center where a crowd of students...
Play Like I'm Sheriff (1968)
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Sunset lay behind the tall buildings like red and yellow smoke. The cloud cover was high. Shadows of the buildings fell across the circle that was the business center of downtown Indianapolis. The towering monument to war dead was bizarre against the darkening horizon. On it figures writhed in frozen agony, except when they caught the corner...
The Taste of lronwater (1969)
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"Remember the time old Haskill Bayes made that wagon with bicycle wheels?" L.C. said. "Run us off Stringtown Hill through that bob-war fence, like to killed us? I don't believe kids down home has fun like that anymore. Shoot! there ain't hardly any kids in Wolf Pen anymore, you know, Buddy?" "That's right," Buddy said without...
The World's One Breathing (1970)
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McLain wakes. The motor is idling, the bus is shuddering, and he is startled to see old men rising from seats in the front. "Could have wiped out every one of them," says the driver, "in a single swipe." Three seats behind him, McLain rises to look through the front window. "They must be living right...
White Rat (1975)
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I learned where she was when Cousin Willie come down home and said Maggie sent for her but told her not to tell nobody where she was, especially me, but Cousin Willie come and told me anyway cause she said I was the lessen two evils and she didn't like to see Maggie stuck up in the room up there like she was. I asked her what she mean like she was. Willie said that she was pregnant...
The Affair with Rachel Ware (1976)
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The problems all began with the woman next door, and they shouldn't have. That is, there shouldn't have been any problems, because life was just like that. Men and women, birds and bees. Springtime and the fancies of a first love always passed. After that came the summer, and, when people loved then, you just didn't talk about it. You assumed that they were old enough...
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Born in Grundy, Virginia, in 1937 and raised in Hazard, Kentucky, Gurney Norman has inspired generations of young writers, teachers, and critics and has become a mainstay of Kentucky letters and Appalachian studies. His mother was a teacher; his father was a coal miner and World War II veteran. He was raised primarily by both sets of grandparents in rural homes. In the late 1950s Norman attended the...
Rent Control (1979)
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Born in California in 1928, Walter Tevis moved with his family to Lexington, Kentucky, when he was ten. After graduating from Model Lab School in Richmond, Tevis served one term in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He returned to Kentucky and earned an A.B. in English from the University of Kentucky and subsequently taught high-school English for six years, while also teaching part-time at the University of Kentucky. Recognition...
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My work seems to have struck a chord with a number of readers who have left home and maybe who have rejected it, and I think it startles them because they thought they were rid of it. I left that kind of world, too, but never could quite get rid of it, I had a hard time breaking free of the hills. A real hard time, actually. I was very curious about the outside world, but it just didn't do me much good out there .... ...
Residents and Transients (1982)
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Since my husband went away to work in Louisville, I have, to my surprise, taken a lover. Stephen went ahead to start his new job and find us a suitable house. I'm to follow later. He works for one of those companies that require frequent transfers, and I agreed to that arrangement in the beginning, but now I do not want to go to Louisville. I do not...
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You remember we used to talk about traveling in Kentucky and seeing my father's birthplace. I was in the mountains and I've been here in Bardstown for a week. The hotel is 130 years old and parts of the town are beautiful. Today for breakfast I walked to a cafe in the business district: worn linoleum, a juke box, "Vera'' and "Connie" according to their badges, the establishment's first...
A Fellow Making Himself Up (1982)
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What uncle Lester liked most about Rosco was that he had named himself, and Lester thought he had picked the perfect name. He did not look like a Ralph, or Robert, or Rupert, but exactly like a Rosco. Audrey said she did not think it was so great to be named Rosco, for she could not think of a single movie star, or even TV personality, with...
Winter Facts (1983)
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She had come in August. Now it was November. She had started a wall with rocks that she dug out of the garden plot. As she got more serious about it, she had her friends bring them to her by the wagonload-rocks were one thing everybody had plenty of out here. Now the wall was maybe forty feet long, two feet high, solid, regular, sloping as the land...
The Fugitive (1984)
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Matthew Furman wore the look of a man whose house has been taken over by skunks. He sat in his pickup, glaring through the rain at the cabin. His neck hurt. Thirst pinched his throat. "Dammit," he said, and started the engine. He backed around in the clearing, pointed the truck toward town, and said, "Dammit to hell." He raised his head and looked at himself in the mirror...
The Perfecting of the Chopin Valse No. 14 in E Minor (1985)
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One day last summer when I was taking a shower, I heard my mother playing the Chopin Valse No. 14 in E Minor better than she ever had played it before. Thirty years ago in Birmingham, I had listened to her while I sat on dusty terra cotta tiles on the front porch. I was trying to pluck a thorn from my heel as I listened, and I remember looking up from my dirty...
Diary of a Union Soldier (1985)
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Dead branches were scraping so resolutely across the roof that it was only when the wind slackened that the thud of the cannons echoed up from the grove. But even as she heard the muted guns, she didn't associate them with an actual engagement, and when she saw him at the steps, not having heard him crash through the woods, just seeing him appear in silence...
That Distant Land (1986)
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For several days after the onset of his decline, my grandfather's mind seemed to leave him to go wandering, lost, in some foreign place. It was a dream he was in, we thought, that he could not escape. He was looking for the way home, and he could not find anyone who knew how to get there...
If You Can't Win (1986)
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"You oughtn't to feed Old Blue candy bars," my husband has told Peggy, a hundred times, showing her how to hold an ear of corn in one hand and work the kernels off into the other. "See? How easy it is?" Over and over he went through each step, showing her how to hold the kernels out in the palm of her hand, just so. "He won't bite. It feels real good...
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Friday night and Earl has a taste for chicken. The craving slipped up on him, foxlike, sometime late in the afternoon. Tonight, he doesn't want Ruth's Crispy or Wanda's Golden Fried or chicken from any of the other joints in town. He doesn't want chain-food chicken from one of those bright new places on the bypass, either. It scares him to eat at places where there are signs...
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My great-grandmother belonged to the Bird Clan. Hers was one of the fugitive bands of Cherokee who resisted capture in the year that General Winfield Scott was in charge of prodding the forest people from their beds and removing them westward. Those few who escaped his notice moved like wildcat families through the Carolina mountains, leaving the ferns unbroken where they passed, eating wild...
Dr. Livingston's Grotto (1989)
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One day while Dr. Livingston's wife sat inside their air-conditioned, ranch style house and while Dr. Livingston clomped in muddied boots about the garden, staking his tomato plants with Mrs. Livingston's worn out panty hose, the ground in their back yard opened up, trembling a little, then yawned like a mouth, so that when Dr. Livingston turned toward the house, carrying his aluminum pie tin of ripe Better Boy...
Belinda's World Tour (1993)
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A little girl, hustled into her pram by an officious nurse, discovered halfway home from the park that her doll Belinda had been left behind. The nurse had finished her gossip with the nurse who minced with one hand on her hip, and had had a good look at the grenadiers in creaking boots who strolled in the park to eye and give smiling nods to the nurses. She had posted...
The Way It Felt to Be Falling (1993)
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The summer I turned nineteen I used to lie in the backyard and watch the planes fly overhead, leaving their clean plumes of jet-stream in a pattern against the sky. It was July, yet the grass had a brown fringe and leaves were already falling, borne on the wind like discarded paper wings. The only thing that flourished that summer was the recession; businesses, lured by lower tax rates, moved south in a steady progression. My father...
The Idea of It (1995)
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I tell my boy stories about growing up here. I ask him whether he wouldn't like a pony, like I had when I was his age. He says he'd rather have a motorcycle, one he could ride down to Florida. We're on the hillside above the cow pasture. The tin roof of the barn flashes sunlight at us whenever the cloud cover breaks...
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I know all about clouds: cumulus, stratus, nimbostratus, cumulonimbus. It doesn't take much water to make most of them. A small summer cumulus a few hundred yards to a side holds no more than twenty-five or thirty gallons of water, not quite enough to fill a bathtub. Years ago, my wife miscarried. I still remember the bright triangle of blood on the back of her nightdress. Fourteen months later she delivered a boy at...
Barred Owl (1996)
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Seven years ago I got divorced and left Kentucky, heading west. I made the Mississippi River in one day, and it just floored me how big it was. I watched the water until sundown. It didn't seem like a river, but a giant brown muscle instead. Two days later, my car threw a rod and I settled in Greeley, Colorado. Nobody in my family has lived this far off our...
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In the summer of 1970, I spent a lot of time trying to get a girl named Lizzie Burford to sleep with me. I had the idea that we would do it at the Goshen Motor Court, out on U.S. 42, near the county line. We'd lie in each other's arms and shiver as the air conditioner blew and the sweat on our skin dried. I was nineteen, a year older than Lizzie, and I thought about motels the way I later thought about churches...
Humming Back Yesterday (1999)
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Aberdeen Copeland was bringing yesterday back from twenty years of hiding. Bringing it back in slow motion. Never mattered where she was, what she was doing -- weeding the garden, shopping in the corner store, making love to her Clovis, cooking beets, kneading bread dough-it could come anytime. She was stirring the soup beans, beginning to wash...
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My introduction to Kentucky writers occurred in the summer of 1960, when, after graduating from high school in the small Appalachian town of Paintsville, Kentucky, I received a scholarship to attend Albert Stewart's Writers' Workshop at Morehead State College. Real authors were there-folks like Jane Mayhall, Robert Hazel, and James Still-authors who read and talked about their...
Page Count: 426
Publication Year: 2013