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While reluctantly accompanying her husband and daughter to freshman orientation at Indiana University, Nora Quillen hears someone call her name, a name she has not heard in more than 25 years. Not even her husband knows that back in the '60s she was Jane Barth, a student deeply involved in the antiwar movement. An American Tune moves back and forth in time, telling the story of Jane, a girl from a working-class family who fled town after she was complicit in a deadly bombing, and Nora, the woman she became, a wife and mother living a quiet life in northern Michigan. An achingly poignant account of a family crushed under the weight of suppressed truths, An American Tune illuminates the irrevocability of our choices and how those choices come to compose the tune of our lives.
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.
An Anthology of Contemporary Stories and Poetry