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A Novel of Antarctica
In prose highlighted by both satire and poignant observation, Ostlund offers characters that represent a different sort of everyman—men and women who poke fun at ideological rigidity while holding fast to good grammar and manners, people seeking connections in a world that seems increasingly foreign. In Upon Completion of Baldness” a young woman shaves her head for a part in a movie in Hong Kong that will help her escape life with her lover in Albuquerque. The precocious narrator of All Boy” finds comfort when he is locked in a closet by a babysitter. In Dr. Deneau's Punishment” a math teacher leaving New York for Minnesota as a means of punishing himself engages in an unsettling method of discipline. A lesbian couple whose relationship is disintegrating flees to the Moroccan desert in The Children beneath the Seat.” And in Idyllic Little Bali” a group of Americans gathers around a pool in Java to discuss their brushes with fame and ends up witnessing a man's fatal flight from his wife.
In the eleven stories in The Bigness of the World we see that wherever you are in the world, where you came from is never far away.
& Other Stories
Welcome to the peculiar and headlong world of Brian Doyle's fiction, where the odd is happening all the time, reported upon by characters of every sort and stripe. Swirling voices and skeins of story, laughter and rage, ferocious attention to detail and sweeping nuttiness, tears and chortling—these stories will remind readers of the late giant David Foster Wallace, in their straightforward accounts of anything-but-straightforward events; of modern short story pioneer Raymond Carver, a bit, in their blunt, unadorned dialogue; and of Julia Whitty, a bit, in their willingness to believe what is happening, even if it absolutely shouldn't be. Funny, piercing, unique, memorable, this is a collection of stories readers will find nearly impossible to forget.
The thirteen stories in Birds of Paradise Lost shimmer with humor and pathos as they chronicle the anguish and joy and bravery of America's newest Americans, the troubled lives of those who fled Vietnam and remade themselves in the San Francisco Bay Area. The past--memories of war and its aftermath, of murder, arrest, re-education camps and new economic zones, of escape and shipwreck and atrocity--is ever present in these wise and compassionate stories.
"When BooBoo stabs Morris Boyle I am reading a news magazine that someone has smuggled into the wing."
Thus, the protagonist of this novella introduces us to prison, one of the several worlds he inhabits, worlds most of us would rather ignore but which inexorably, through what we see and hear and read and live on uncountable American streets, has become the one world we can no longer avoid. It seduces us with the voice of drugs and violence. Of the disenfranchised. Of those both at once outside and standing within the center of what no longer holds. It informs us of who we are today.
In the title story, an aging black singer who performs only Elvis songs despite his classic bluesman looks has his regular spot at the local blues jam threatened by a newly arrived Asian American with the unlikely name Robert Johnson. In Man Under,” two friends struggling to be rock musicians in Reagan-era Brooklyn find that their front door has been removed by their landlord. An aspiring writer discovers the afterlife consists of being the stand-in for a famous author on an endless book tour in Another Coyote Story.” Lonely and adrift in Florence, Italy, a young man poses as a tour guide with an art history degree in Know Your Saints.” And in This Is Not a Bar,” a simple night on the town for a middle-aged guitar student and jazz buff turns into a confrontation with his past and an exploration of what is or is not real.
In his depictions of struggling performers, artists, expectant parents, travelers, con-men, temporarily employed academics, and even the recently deceased, Becker asks the question, Which are more important: the stories we tell other people or the ones we tell ourselves?
Fatti Ashi died. Startling her family and community, she comes back to life just a few hours after dying. Blessing chronicles the life of this Fatti Ashi, a young village girl who from the moment she rejoins the land of the living is faced with both obstacles and opportunities consistent with an attempted mergence of two worlds. From a child who is molded with her fatherís advice to merge ancestral skull worship and Christianity to an underprivileged teenager who falls in love with the alphabet and finally becoming a woman who desires emotional and financial independence, Fatti Ashiís life yields misunderstandings and isolation. As a child in the village, her life is a battleground for family rivalry and religious conflict. As a teenage wife in the city, she befriends a sex worker who encourages her to bring meaning into her life rather than simply living to the dictates of others. She takes up the challenge by embarking on adult education and becoming a breadwinner but is taken aback when her husband requests a divorce. In a search for solutions to save her marriage, she entertains traditional religion, Catholicism and Pentecostalism. Disappointment and desperation lead her to take a deeper look at the situation. Is she to stay married simply for convenience? Is she to continue following religious paths laid out by others, clearly not as beneficial to her? Is she to please society to her detriment? The long journey of self-discovery takes her through scandal and humiliation but in the end, she emerges as a confident, admired and happy woman.
A Romilia Chacon Novel
A child dies on the border between California and Mexico. This is nothing new: immigrants die crossing the border all the time, escaping from poverty and violence in Latin America. They bake in the desert. But this death is different. Someone has taken body parts from the child. FBI Agent Romilia Chacón, a Salvadoran American, follows this case into a world that swallows her with its horror, a world that exists alongside ours, where children are bought and sold like cattle and shipped to men all across the country. The dealers in this blackest of markets have no moral barometer, only the lust for cash. And one among them has taken murder to a level beyond serial killing. Romilia comes to this case already broken: the man she loved and yet had to hunt—drug runner Tekún Umán, a regular on the FBI's Most Wanted List—is gone. Romilia has two friends, her partner Nancy Pearl—who lives a double life between the Feds and the cartels—and a bottle of booze. Romilia's mother is on her back to get sober; her son drifts further away. And the killer is taking away pieces of Romilia's life, day by day.
Reflections on Place by Appalachian Women Writers
Winner of the 1997 Appalachian Studies Award Appalachian Writers Association 1999 Book of the Year Winner of the Susan Koppleman Award of the Popular Culture Association for Best Edited Collection in Women's Studies Joyce Dyer is director of writing and associate professor of English at Hiram College, Ohio."