In this collection of 13 short stories, Southern writer Gay (Provinces of Night; The Long Home) confirms his place in the Southern fiction pantheon. Set in rural Tennessee, the stories pulsate with the inevitability of emotional pain, sometimes charged with fear, other times with limitless rage. Gay's characters are perpetually frustrated with the world's awkwardness and obstinacy, lashing out in bizarre ways. After shooting his wife's yapping dog and then facing divorce proceedings, the protagonist of "Sugarbaby" flees responsibility and commits suicide rather than face the music. About to leave town with a young woman who exudes "sullen eroticism," the downwardly mobile television salesman whose desperation animates "The Man Who Knew Dylan" deserts her at a bus stop, smelling too much trouble to handle. In the more ironic stories, natural forces stifle rebellion. The title tale peaks when an old man pushed out of his home by his son tries unsuccessfully to burn out the house's new occupants, nearly killing himself. Although the stories maintain an alluringly simple, spare affect, they are complex in their psychological underpinnings and their poetically described settings range from deep woods to shady towns to the half-junkyard, half-wilderness hell of the area known as "the Harrikin," to which several of Gay's characters flee when they reach the end of their tether. The very names establish authenticity: Finis Beasley, Billy Crosswaithe, Bonedaddy, Quincy Nell. Despite occasional rambling sentences revealing the influence of Cormac McCarthy or the odd false-ringing line of twangy dialogue, this collection is a fine showcase for Gay's imaginative talent.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Gay (Provinces of Night; The Long Home) offers a collection of stories whose characters arrive at a crossroads and usually choose the wrong path, be it violence, arson, or suicide. In the title story, an elderly man escapes his retirement home and uses extreme measures to rid his house of the family who is renting it. "The Paperhanger" involves a Pakistani doctor's wife, her difficulties with the titular paperhanger, and a missing child. In "Closure" and "Roadkill on the Life's Highway," a quest for a hidden stash of money gives the protagonist the means to come to terms with his estranged wife. Gay often fails to connect characters with the reader, so it's hard to understand why they make their violent, irrational decisions. But in the stronger stories the truth of the characters comes through. For larger public libraries and collections of Southern fiction. Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Can this Man write! A superb collection of deep soulfull small novels.
Sad novels, profoundly humane novels, to be read and suffered along with. Read more
The language , the people and the stories..
This collection is just wonderful, dark and heady.. Read more
This was an experience. Reading this collection is the literary equivalent of what it must have been like to see Hendrix play live. Mastery is the word that comes to mind. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Daniel M.
The late William Gay, along with William Price Fox and Larry Brown are three of my favorite Southern writers. I enjoyed this collection very much.Published 18 months ago by A. Levine
Why doesn't everyone know about William Gay? These stories are so deep, so dark, so mezmerizing. I have read it more than once to try and relive the feeling I got the first time I... Read morePublished 19 months ago by K. Scheffer
The Oxford American is a GREAT magazine and I would recommend both this author AND the magazine to anyone who enjoys good writing.
Don't know how I discovered William Gay so late in life, but I'm glad I did. If you like southern writing, you'll love William Gay and this book in particular. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Millard F. Johnson
William Gay stories are slow, methodical, language focused, and generally forego heavy plotting in favor of nuance. Read morePublished on June 16, 2013 by Caleb J. Ross
This collection of short stories is masterful. Gay's use of language is unique and powerful. He conjures images that are breathtaking and real. He is genuine as a storyteller. Read morePublished on April 13, 2013 by rags