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Black Maps (Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction) Hardcover – May 31, 1996

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Product Details

  • Series: Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press (May 31, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558490337
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558490338
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,605,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

This second collection of short stories by David Jauss opens with an epigram from Milan Kundera that sets the stage for many of the characters in Black Maps: "It takes so little ... for a person to cross the border beyond which everything loses meaning." Among those for whom all meaning is lost is the man in "Torque" who gives up his wife and a child for the sake of an odd quest to build a limousine. Or the son in "Glossolalia" whose father has suffered a nervous breakdown. The people here bear the weight of their troubles uneasily, but with a certain world-weary acceptance.

From Publishers Weekly

Jauss's collection of nine finely worked stories charts with a reasonable degree of success the tricky shiftings of human life on the brink. The boundaries crossed include a father's madness and a son's silent betrayal of him in "Glossolalia"; a newsman's sin of omission as he willfully ignores and editorializes a stranger's pain when confronted in a fast-food restaurant ("The Late Man"); a woman's distant acquiescence to a second marriage and her secret ache for a life somehow bypassed ("Beautiful Ohio"); a foster child's confused pairing of his alcoholic mother's slip into detox and his own hidden crime of throwing rocks at the school's windows ("Firelight"). Jauss's strongest writing appears in "The Bigs," narrated in slightly pidgin English by a minor league pitcher from the Dominican Republic who must choose between his wife and child's happiness or his own need to make the majors before he can return to his home country a hero. In "Freeze," a young soldier in Vietnam steps on a mine that fails to explode and finds himself battling with the weight of living with a strange salvation, on borrowed time. Despite a slightly redundant style and themes, the small, sharply seen worlds Jauss creates do much to prove?as the opening quote by Milan Kundera attests?that "the border beyond which everything loses meaning... is not miles away, but a fraction of an inch."
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jauss is an explorer of hidden terrain, inhabiting characters wildly different from himself. A Dominican baseball player, a young boy in foster care, a Vietnam vet, a man who saws a Cadillac in half when his wife leaves him...In the author's skilled and compassionate hands, his characters expand and illuminate what it means to be human.

I return to this book again and again. While not 'happy,' his stories give me hope: that our humanity, in its frailty and craziness, is also full of beauty. This award-winning collection deserves attention.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 4, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Quite enjoyable collection - the final story in the collection is so gripping that it takes hold and stays with you long after you finish reading Jauss's work.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Xzavious Reinbold on November 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
"Glossolalia" is one of the best short stories of the last 30 years. Jauss is a writer of importance; read this book!
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More About the Author

I was born in Minnesota in 1951 and educated at Southwest Minnesota State College, Syracuse University, and the University of Iowa. I am the author of three collections of short stories, Glossolalia: New & Selected Stories, Black Maps and Crimes of Passion; two books of poems, You Are Not Here and Improvising Rivers; and a collection of essays on the craft of fiction, Alone With All That Could Happen (reprinted in paper as On Writing Fiction).

I have also edited three anthologies: Words Overflown by Stars, an anthology of essays on the craft of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction from past and present faculty of Vermont College of Fine Arts; The Best of Crazyhorse: Thirty Years of Poetry and Fiction; and, with Philip Dacey, Strong Measures: Contemporary American Poetry in Traditional Forms.

My fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in numerous magazines, including Arts & Letters, The California Quarterly, The Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, The Nation, New England Review, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, and The Writer's Chronicle. My work has also been translated into Indonesian, Farsi, and Braille and read over Voice of America radio.

My fiction has also appeared in numerous anthologies, including Best American Short Stories; Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards; The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses; and The Pushcart Book of Stories: Best Stories from the First 25 Years of the Pushcart Prize.

My poetry has also appeared in numerous anthologies, including Strongly Spent: 50 Years of Shenandoah Poetry and The Poetry Anthology, 1912-2002: Ninety Years of America's Most Distinguished Verse Magazine.

From 1981-1991 I served as fiction editor of Crazyhorse, and I am currently a contributing editor for The Writer's Chronicle.

In addition to the O. Henry Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, and the Best American Short Stories selection mentioned above, my awards and honors include the AWP Award for Short Fiction, the Fleur-de-Lis Poetry Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a James A. Michener Fellowship, a fellowship from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and three fellowships from the Arkansas Arts Council.

I teach creative writing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and in the MFA in Writing Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. I live in Little Rock with my wife Judy and our dogs Toby, Pip. and Libby. We are proud parents of two grown children, Alison and Steve, both of whom live nearby, Alison with her two dogs and Steve with his wife Kewen and our darling grandsons Galen and Ethan.

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