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N o m in a t io n s f o r “N o t - t o -B e -M is s e d C o n t e m p o r a r y F ic t io n o f t h e A m e r ic a n W e s t ” Over the past year Western American Literature asked readers to nomi­ nate a notable novel published since 1990. This list of “not-to-bemissed works of contemporary fiction of the American West” was a chance for all readers to recognize and applaud recent novels in the field. Rather than thinking only in terms of absolutes— a kind of “Best West” list— we asked readers to nominate books they think might be the subject of future scholarship in the field, as well as books notable enough to recommend to colleagues looking for the right contemporary novel to add to a syllabus or to offer to a friend just looking for a “good read.” The results are listed below, arranged alphabetically by the nov­ elist’s last name. The response to the call for nominations was not overwhelming, but the modest list that did result was interesting nevertheless. We hope this inspires as you make out that summer read­ ing list here in the midst of gray winter. Happy reading! — Evelyn I. Funda, Book Review Editor ARIZONA STATE COLLEGE, 1946. Northern Arizona University Photo­ graphic Archives, Cline Library. 4 3 6 WAL 3 5 .4 WINTER 2 0 0 1 Strange Angels. By Jonis Agee. N ew York: H arperPerennial, 199.3. $12.00. Agee is the most prolific of the recent Great Plains novelists that includes Kent Haruf, Dan O’Brien, Douglas Unger, Ron Hansen, and, in Canada, Sharon Butala, but while these latter writers, with the exception of Butala, have produced one or two fine fictional treatments of the region, Agee pro­ duces stories and novels at a steady clip. Recently, she joined the faculty in the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, where, we can hope, she will continue to focus her fictional attention on the people who populate the small towns and rural reaches of the Great Plains. Strange Angels is set in the Nebraska Sandhills made familiar by Mari Sandoz, and like Sandozs family in OldJules, the children in Agee’s Bennet fam­ ily must come to terms with their father’s legacy, left to each in equal measure. Agee creates characters who see themselves as losers and throw-aways while revealing strengths and sympathies the reader comes to admire. The Bennet chil­ dren’s lives are intricately connected with each other, with the other complex and colorful characters in their ranching community, and with the land that, as in any good western work, is an important character in her novel. —Diane Quantic, Wichita State University The Temptations of St. Ed & Brother S. By Frank Bergon. R eno: U niversity of N evada Press, 1993. $22.00. Frank Bergon knows his Nevada, and the characters and issues so sharply defined in this novel will resonate with Westerners especially. The battle for the book’s fictional Shoshone Mountain, the site of a proposed nuclear waste dump, becomes a reflection of the battle going on in the souls of the modem monks St. Ed and Brother S in their struggles with the temptations of this world. Backed by an assortment of Native American activists, Desert Rats, a BLM ranger, and drop-out kids, the monks find themselves up against talkshow hosts, technicians, and the cool and scary bureaucrats of the Department of Energy, with their vacant materialism, loveless view of sexuality, and destructive ideas of power. The outcome is inconclusive, but the book holds out the possibility of other kinds of power and knowledge, which are repre­ sented not by the nuclear clouds of the technocrats but by the mystics’ Cloud of Unknowing and the ancient energy of the sun. This is a comic novel in the great tradition. —Zeese Papanikolas, San Francisco Art Institute Bo o k N o m in a t io n s 4 3 7 Wild Qame. By Frank Bergon. R eno: U niversity of...


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