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Stygo Paperback – April 1, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hendrie's lively debut chronicles the hopes and dreams of people living in Stygo, a small town in Bent County, Colo., surrounded by fields of sugar beets and tall corn. Most of its residents want to leave, and Tom Go comes closest when he wins a $500 lottery and his dream of moving to Alaska seems within reach. But his friends aren't fooled: "They knew where he would be in five or ten years. Some of them might not have known about themselves--a person can hang around a town all his life and not know about himself--but they knew about Tom." So it is with the other characters scraping out a living in these independent but closely connected stories; they know about each other. Lizzie, with her stuffed pet named Jubilee ("Armadillo"), knows that love is a chimera often glimpsed but rarely captured. Becca Jopa ("Arroyo") watches her brother Brice struggle to fulfill their father's expectations while he tries to tame a gray horse. Edie ("What Lasts") witnesses the wordless but enduring love her parents share in the days of her mother's fading sanity. The daily lives of these common folk gleam with light refracted through the prism of understanding wielded by this uncommonly gifted writer.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

These nine interrelated and somewhat uneven stories trace the lives of quiet desperation led by residents of the dusty Colorado town of Stygo. The strongest stand alone effectively, while others gain strength through context. Among the best is "Walking the Dog," which concerns Tom Go- so named because of his constant talk of leaving-and the conflicting emotions he feels when a lottery win allows him to realize his dream. "Something To Go By" deals with snowplow driver Billy Fiddle as he comes to terms with the death of Lee, his more popular twin brother. "Arroyo" is about the teenager Brice and Becca Jopa and the legacy of their father's obsessive quest to tame a wild horse. Hendrie has a hard, dry style well suited to her setting and subject matter. Recommended for larger libraries and regional collections.
Lawrence Rungren, Bedford Free P.L., Mass.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 225 pages
  • Publisher: MacAdam/Cage; First Edition edition (April 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1878448595
  • ISBN-13: 978-1878448590
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,233,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By rapt reader on November 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book when I noticed a posistive testimonial by Annie Proulx. Laura Hendrie dishes up stark tales of a miniscule, single-industry (sugar beets) Colorado town where dust and snow blow alternately, and people have little to do outside of work besides observe each other and play off their neighbors' mistakes. The book's structure is nine separate but related tales, each building on characters from a previous story. The grittiness of the high plains is palpable in the relentless but subtle style Hendrie uses to convey hard living by people on the fringe of society beyond Stygo. One of these people, Essie Angel, decides she never wants to see any more than the limited view from Stygo after she gets a taste of the making of TV talk shows in the aftermath of her 19-year-old brother's conviction for murder. Stygo is populated with children who stay under furniture or porches and steal candy compulsively. Depressing? Yes, but usefully so -- I am glad to peek safely into the flip points of view of small town life this book gave me, without having to live there. Publishers MacMurray & Beck contributed to a very beautiful and thoughtful presentation with illustrations at the beginning of each story, repeated individually throughout the "chapter."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lisawright on February 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As Russell Banks said: "Stygo plays striking new changes on the old American themes of loneliness and the vast space that surrounds us . . ."
This novel and its characters are very memorable and the scenes really describe how it feels to live in the American West with snakes and dogs and drunks and dust and that longing for meaning. Hendrie really makes the landscape itself a character.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a WONDERFUL book - amazing insight into the human condition. Everyone should read this!
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