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Curtain Creek Farm: Stories Hardcover – August, 2000

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Persea Books; 1st edition (August 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892552506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892552504
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,949,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An anarchist commune in Washington State, founded in the '60s, survived the disenchantments of the next decades, but its idealistic inhabitants are shaken when one of their longtime members, Lila, dies of cancer at age 50. Poet and fiction writer Van Winckel's (After a Spell; Quake) collection of eight interconnected stories tenderly and honestly describes the joys, compromises, dreams and hard realities of the farm, "a world away from the world." In truth, a generation after the farm's inception, the collective collides with the outside world more often than not. Lila's herpetologist son, Russell, is seriously enamored of Lila's friend, Geneva, in "The Lap of Luxury." In "Making Headway," Roxanne gives Geneva deep-tissue massages, and knows that her back problems stem from being "spooked by love"; that is, she's afraid to accept Russell's devotion, because he's 15 years her junior. Roxanne's husband is long gone, prompting advances from Frito, a nomadic Web designer. The children of the community poignantly respond to Lila's death by organizing mock funerals for kittens, possums and other animals, even staging one for a four-year-old playmate ("The Land of Anarchy"). This ceremony is interrupted by the appearance of a cougar, one moment of many where Van Winckel's canny symbolism satisfyingly vexes the distinction between nature and culture. The children, meanwhile, demarcate the thin line between the commune's stubbornly radical vision and its inescapable participation in various social constructs. In the final story, "Treat Me Nice," this division is beautifully transcended. Francine, a nurse, encounters an Elvis imitator with a mysterious injury, whom she marries on the farm. At the wedding, 12 other Elvis imitators, singing "All Shook Up," parachute to earth from a plane high above. The narrative is chock-full of surprising images like this one, as Van Winckel merges popular culture and utopian lifestyles with rosy, generous vision. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Eight indelible portraits of fascinating women in...fully satisfying stories about a commune....[Van Winckel] invests them with humor and compassion. -- Seattle Times, 30 August 2000

The mundane and the transcendent come together . . . like homespun cloth with threads of garnet silk woven in. -- The Inlander, Spokane, Sheri Boggs, 10 June 2000

More About the Author

No Starling (U. of Washington, 2007) is Nance's fifth book of poetry. The others are Bad Girl, with Hawk (U. of Illinois Press, 1987), The Dirt (Miami U. Press, 1994), and After A Spell (Miami U. Press, 1998), which received the Washington State Governor's Award for Poetry, and Beside Ourselves (Miami University Press, 2003).

She's received two National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowships, a Pushcart Prize, Poetry's Friends of Literature Award, Prairie Schooner's 2007 Edward Stanley Award, two Washington State Artist Trust Awards, The Midland Authors Award, and awards from the Poetry Society of America. Her poems have appeared recently in Poetry, The American Poetry Review, the 2006 Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Gettysburg Review, Field, Volt, The Kenyon Review, Crazyhorse, The Southern Review, AGNI, The Massachusetts Review, and Ploughshares.

She's also published three books of short stories, most recently Curtain Creek Farm (Persea Books, 2001). Quake (U. of Missouri Press, 1998) received the 1998 Paterson Fiction Prize. Limited Lifetime Warranty appeared with the U. of Missouri Press in 1994. New stories appear in The Georgia Review, Colorado Review, and AGNI. Nance received a Christopher Isherwood Fiction Fellowship for 2005 for a work in progress.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Survivors of the 60's will be surprised and delighted by Curtain Creek Farm, a new book by Nance Van Winkle that reads more like a novel than a collection of stories. There's just nothing used or hackneyed in it; every place, every character, every event seems fresh and new. I came to love both the characters that formed the original commune, and the young, contemporary characters who find a refuge there. The stories are original, funny, and touching. These stories will stay with me a long time, not only because they are original, but because they are beautifully written. They offer sharp, immediate description, and an insight into the larger metaphors time, of life and death, of the search we all have made for a sense of place, a way to feel we might belong on this earth after all.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
CURTAIN CREEK FARM is a book that feels like it was written painstakingly, making every word count so that the words describe and illuminate each detail and every character. The book is fiction but the reader hopes this place is real! The book employs the best of fictional techniques that are also memoir techniques including character description, dialogue, storytelling. All blend compassion with a poignant appeal and enchanting metaphors and similes and leave the reader wishing to visit these at the "edge" of society who succeed somehow in their quiet lifestyle and even find a way to join technology with a beautiful website describing each participant. There is action in nature--floods, wolves, children born in snowy places. This book is one to treasure and re-read many times! Thanks to Nance Van Winckel for an outstanding book!
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