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At The Breakers

A Novel

Mary Ann Taylor-Hall

“Soon or a little too lateeverything you never knewyou always wanted turns uphereat The Breakers”—from the book In her new novel At The Breakers, Mary Ann Taylor-Hall, author of the widely praised and beloved Come and Go, Molly Snow, presents Jo Sinclair, a longtime single mother of four children. Fleeing an abusive relationship after a shocking attack, Jo finds herself in Sea Cove, New Jersey, in front of The Breakers, a salty old hotel in the process of renovation. Impulsively, she negotiates a job painting the guest rooms and settles in with her youngest child, thirteen-year-old Nick. As each room is transformed under brush and roller, Jo finds a way to renovate herself, reclaiming a promising life derailed by pregnancy and a forced marriage at age fourteen. Jo’s new life at the hotel features a memorable mix of locals and guests, among them Iris Zephyr, the hotel’s ninety-two-year-old permanent boarder; Charlie, a noble mixed-breed dog; Marco, owner of a nearby gas station/liquor store, who may become Jo’s next mistake; and enigmatic Wendy, her streetwise eighteen-year-old daughter, who signs on as housekeeper. Irrepressible Victor Mangold, Jo’s former professor and a well-known poet some twenty years her senior, invites himself to Thanksgiving dinner and into her life, his passion awakening Jo’s yearning for art and love. At The Breakers is a deeply felt and beautifully written novel about forgiveness and reconciliation. In Jo’s words, she is “trying to find the right way to live” as a long-suffering woman who is put through the fire and emerges with a chance at a full, rich life for herself and her children, if only she has the faith to take it.

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Ate It Anyway

Ed Allen

In the limbo bounded by rebellion and resignation, belonging and solitude, Ed Allen's middle Americans seem to be either freely adrift or uncomfortably vested in an exit strategy wholly inadequate for their circumstances. These sixteen darkly humorous stories gauge the tension between what we really feel and what we outwardly express, what we should do and what we manage to get done.

In "Celibacy-by-the-Atlantic," Phil negotiates a lingering, low-intensity regret brought on by the annual family get-together at his parents' beach house, where memories of his aimless, privileged adolescence mingle with forebodings of his aimless, privileged middle age. In "A Lover's Guide to Hospitals," Carl lies in bed, pining over a stillborn romance through a moody, post-op haze of painkillers. As a consoling needle through the heart, the object of Carl's unrequited affections also turns out to be his nurse.

In "Burt Osborne Rules the World," a precocious boy ponders his childhood in "a world protected against anything you could imagine doing to make it more interesting." Sensing that only more of the same awaits him as an adult, Burt charts a different course--as a class clown with a truly toxic sense of mischief. Others, like Lydia in "Ralph Goes to Mexico," assert their individuality more effortlessly, for they're just too naturally odd to be cowed by convention. Lydia's dilemma is whether she should have her leukemic cat stuffed and mounted or turned into a hat after he dies.

These lyrical tales celebrate the ordinary--and the not so ordinary--with a flourish of Nabokovian wit that combines grandeur, kitsch, and the author's broad empathy with his characters.

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Atlantis

Three Tales

Samuel R. Delany

Wesleyan University Press has made a significant commitment to the publication of the work of Samuel R. Delany, including this recent fiction, now available in paperback. The three long stories collected in Atlantis: three tales -- "Atlantis: Model 1924," "Erik, Gwen, and D. H. Lawrence's Aesthetic of Unrectified Feeling," and "Citre et Trans" -- explore problems of memory, history, and transgression.

Winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards, and Guest of Honor at the 1995 World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow, Delany was won a broad audience among fans of postmodern fiction with his theoretically sophisticated science fiction and fantasy. The stories of Atlantis: three tales are not SF, yet Locus, the trade publication of the science fiction field, notes that the title story "has an odd, unsettling power not usually associated with mainstream fiction."

A writer whose audience extends across and beyond science fiction, black, gay, postmodern, and academic constituencies, Delany is finally beginning to achieve the broader recognition he deserves.

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Aunt Jane Of Kentucky

Eliza Calvert Hall

This collection of short stories about the fictional quiltmaker Aunt Jane Parish was originally published in 1907 by Caroline Obenchain (who published under the name of Eliza Calvert Hall). Known for her gentle folk wisdom, Aunt Jane vividly describes a picturesque way of life in the rural South of the nineteenth century.

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Auslander

Mary Powell

Auslander—the German word for “outsider.” In this novel, four women explore the many ways one can be an outsider geographically, culturally, and emotionally. They chronicle the life of the Jahn family in the close-knit German community of Schoenberg, Texas, during the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Their counterpoint dialogues draw us into the family’s marriages and separations, births and deaths, business failures, and moments of joy and into the German-Texan culture with its sometimes rigid traditions and prejudices. The voices we hear are from Queenie, matriarch of the family and wife of Beno; Carol Anne, the bride of Queenie’s son, Fritz; Vera, the niece Queenie and Beno tried to raise as a daughter; and Sheila, Carol Anne’s cabaret-singing mother from Houston.

Fritz Jahn, young, ambitious, and reserved, is the center around which the four women revolve. He truly loves Carol Anne but cannot understand her inability to settle down in Schoenberg. His closeness with Vera threatens to go beyond brotherly love and complicates Vera’s relationship with Carol Anne and Queenie. Sheila is worldwise, practical and puzzled by conventional family life. Perhaps the most compelling voice belongs to Queenie, the one who holds the family together. Speaking in the inverted sentence structure of those for whom German is the more natural language, she interprets and comments on what she sees with insight and wisdom.

Mary Powell, a resident of the Hill Country, captures that area’s climate and geography in rich descriptions of fields and wildflowers and terrifyingly real scenes of a flash flood. She is equally insightful in portraying the lingering German culture of small towns like Schoenberg.

In Auslander Powell creates a powerful and realistic story of a family defined by their heritage yet sharing universal joys and sorrows.

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Babi Yar Symphony

This unique work lifts the African question out of the dust. Against the backdrop of prison life, it explores the complex reality of being an African in today's world. Through the tight sensitivity and illuminating knowledge of its two principal characters, themselves victims of misplaced justice, greed and lust, it captures the pain and sadness that almost always comes in the wake of betrayal and egotism. The work's message is strong, and is delivered with equal strength by characters whose individual convictions also sway us to their side. We have here a new, powerful shaft of light on the landscape of recent African writing.

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Back in No Time

The Brion Gysin Reader

Jason Weiss

Brion Gysin (1916–1986) was a visual artist, historian, novelist, and an experimental poet credited with the discovery of the ‘cut-up’ technique -- a collage of texts, not pictures -- which his longtime collaborator William S. Burroughs put to more extensive use. He is also considered one of the early innovators of sound poetry, which he defines as ‘getting poetry back off the page and into performance.’ Back in No Time gathers materials from the entire Gysin oeuvre: scholarly historical study, baroque fiction, permutated and cut-up poetry, unsettling memoir, selections from The Process and The Last Museum, and his unproduced screenplay of Burroughs’ novel Naked Lunch. In addition, the Reader contains complete texts of several Gysin pieces that are difficult to find, including “Poem of Poems,” “The Pipes of Pan,” and “A Quick Trip to Alamut.”

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Back Yonder

An Ozark Chronicle

Originally released in 1932, Wayman Hogue’s Back Yonder is a rare and entertaining memoir of life in rural Arkansas during the decades following the Civil War. Using family legends, personal memories, and events from Arkansas history, Hogue, like his contemporary Laura Ingalls Wilder, creatively weaves a narrative of a family making its way in rugged, impoverished, and sometimes violent places.

From one-room schoolhouses to moonshiners, the details in Hogue’s story capture the essence of a particular time and place, even as the characters reflect a universal quality that endears them to the modern reader. This reissue of Back Yonder, the first in the Chronicles of the Ozarks series, features an introduction by historian Brooks Blevins that explores the life of Charles Wayman Hogue, analyzes the people and events that inspired the book, and places the volume in the context of America’s discovery of the Ozarks in the years between the World Wars.

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Backwoods Tales

Paddy McGann, Sharp Snaffles, and Bill Bauldy

William Gilmore Simms, Introduction by Keen Butterworth, James L. W. West III, General Editor

The twelfth volume in the ongoing Arkansas Edition of the works of William Gilmore Simms, Backwoods Tales brings together three of the best examples of his comic writing. All were written during the last decade of Simms’s life, when he had become a master of his craft. These three tales belong in the tradition of southern backwoods humor, a genre that flourished before the Civil War and produced classic tales by such authors as George Washington Harris, Johnson Jones Hooper, and Thomas Bangs Thorpe. Paddy McGann, “Sharp Snaffles,” and “Bill Bauldy” are all frame tales, told by rustic narrators in authentic dialect, with frequent pauses for libation and comment. These three pieces of writing, never before published together, stand among the best examples of American humor of the nineteenth century.

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The Bad Samaritan

The Bad Samaritan is set in a kleptomaniac and highly corrupt imaginary African country called Ewawa. Due to mismanagement, financial institutions collapse. Salaries are slashed and there is unprecedented unemployment leading to country exodus. Professor Esole and his wife are not only aggrieved by the salary slashes, but also by the dubious closure of the Post Office Savings Bank with their savings. Desperate for money, they resort to borrowing from private sources at exorbitant interest rates. Esole toddles into politics with the aim of righting things. Will his naÔve approach to politics make or mar?

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