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Anteaters Don't Dream and Other Stories

Louise Hawes

Publication Year: 2007

In Anteaters Don't Dream and Other Stories, Louise Hawes deftly portrays lovers at the end of their patience, marriages on the verge of decline, children reeling from abuse, and parents devastated by loss.

But many of these stories have a sardonic, humorous edge as well: in the title story, a jaded architect learns to take his dream life more seriously when a female co-worker threatens his career. In "Mr. Mix Up," a mother becomes infatuated with the clown at her son's birthday party. In "My Last Indian," a menopausal woman goes native. And in "Salinger's Mistress," a young woman lies about having an affair with J. D. Salinger. . . until Salinger himself calls her on the phone!

Whether Hawes's protagonists are rich or poor, male or female, young or old, their voices are convincing, varied, and human. With equal portions of wit and pathos, Anteaters Don't Dream and Other Stories is a versatile collection by a remarkable prose stylist.

Louise Hawes is a writer and teacher based in Pittsboro, North Carolina. She is the author of The Vanishing Point, Rosey in the Present Tense, and other novels.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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My Last Indian

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pp. 3-17

I was on fire when I met Harry Too Tall, and only part of it was passion. Midlife, according to those cheerful self-help books people start gifting you with as you near fifty, is a rich, transitional phase—a perfect time for adventure and romance. What the books don't mention is that it is incredibly humiliating...

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Halcyon House

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pp. 18-26

Apparently not. She frowns, then closes her eyes. She is quiet for a minute, and I am not sure whether she's fallen asleep. I study the intricate map of veins under her cheekbones, miniature roads and rivers turned in on each other. Then she startles me. "Have I had my lunch today?" she asks...

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Spring Cleaning

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pp. 27-31

Sandier considered the tangle of plastic arms and legs in the cardboard box he'd unearthed from the pile of cartons behind the patio umbrella. "Guess it's your turn," he said, not without satisfaction. "These old dolls are missing arms, and most don't even have clothes." He lifted the box and held it out to Rainey...

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Anteaters Don't Dream

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pp. 32-49

Julia says men are insensitive. Every time she tells me this, she looks at me as though I'd been born with an extra head or scales all over my body. "It's not your fault, Ben," she says, putting a cool, manicured hand on my arm. "You've been culturally conditioned to ignore your feelings." So for my birthday...

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Small Hands

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pp. 50-62

I will watch the bus pull out, wondering if Shana and the others think the letter I'm holding is for me. I will say to myself, Ninth grade, I am in the ninth grade and there are only four more years to go. Four years until I have my own mailbox— until all the letters inside are for me. Charlene Mandrel...

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Mr. Mix-Up

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pp. 63-81

Paula, in the thick of them, was collecting new balloons for sacrifice. Her barrette was hanging open and her hair fell across her face, a few dark strands stuck to her forehead. She and Jodie Weymouth were both tugging furiously at a yellow tear-shaped balloon. "It's mine," Jodie wailed. "It's my...

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A Word That Rhymes with Hair

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pp. 82-94

I was proud of her breasts. The feeling wasn't in the least obscene or unfatherly; it was a selfless, avuncular delight in their perfection. A freshman in high school, Gabby had skipped the awkward stage so many of her friends were going through, big girls embarrassed by their sudden ripeness. Already I could...

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All the Pale Women

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pp. 95-114

Her foxhole prayer. "God, if you make me not pregnant, Til never be so stupid again. Please." The tiny plastic tube, like something from the Mr. Wizard Science Kit her father had given her when she was ten. The inexorable donut that formed like sediment at its bottom, the blue ring that meant it was too...

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Dawson's Folly

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pp. 115-133

I don't mean I thought, Gee, wouldn't it be nice to build Brian a tree house. I mean I saw the whole thing there in front of me. Right down to the balcony off the third floor and the dormer windows on the top. I stood there, holding the box with Meg's mother's dishes in it, just staring...

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Salinger's Mistress

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pp. 134-140

The way it works is this: I pick an announcement out of the paper—a store opening, a lecture, a benefit. I go, but not as myself. "Hello," I say, extending my hand to whoever ends up standing or sitting beside me. "My name is Sylvia Cassidy. Perhaps you've seen me on daytime TV?" Or, "Glad to meet...

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A Fine Mess

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pp. 141-159

The first two weeks after the accident, he played the tape every day. "You have reached 968-4043. We cannot come to the phone right now ..." It was pretty bland—no puns, no jokes, not even the joke about "for whom the bell tolls" Franny had snuck in a month before she died. Max had made her take...

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The Knack

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pp. 160-174

One of the girls frowned, lowered her arm. Lettie studied the cluster of tender fawn legs, nubile breasts. "Keep those lips wet, ladies." Involuntarily, she licked her own upper lip, then rubbed it against the lower as if she were spreading color between them. The teenage gaggle hesitated, their arms around...

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Our Lady of Sorrows

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pp. 175-196

For the first time, though, there was a difference, a divide Peter couldn't cross. Suffering is supposed to bring couples close, he'd heard, yet he had never felt so alone. He knew it was uncharitable, selfish even, to complain. Not that it would have done any good if he had. Everything he did or said was...

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pp. 197-210

I don't mean a broomstick, Halloween kind of witch. I mean almost like church. She had an altar and prayers and this incense that smelled like melons and sawdust. I used to walk on the smallest part of my sneaks I could manage, right up to her bedroom door, station myself there, and watch through...

E-ISBN-13: 9781621031123
E-ISBN-10: 1578069386
Print-ISBN-13: 9781578069385

Publication Year: 2007