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The Price You Pay: Stories Hardcover – September 1, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Women pay the price for risks both taken and avoided in this strong debut collection of 16 stories, set primarily in the Southwest and Maryland. The determinedly self-reliant women listen to '70s rock and roll, smoke Kools and slip away for a quick beer with the girls before returning to lives that have slipped beyond their control. In the title story, a hitchhiker rechristens herself "Shane." Running away from a dull marriage, she finds herself traveling with a man whose life is as much a half-truth as her own. A bad idea gets worse in "A Color of Sky," when Angie, a Native American woman, agrees to use her truck to transport drugs in order to support her son. Angie is motivated by a desire to be "out in the wide open, alone with my boy, seeing things we hadn't seen before," and accepts her fate as part of the necessary order of things. In "Have a Prayer," Honey and an unnamed narrator meet in "Women-Who-Are-Looking-for-Something-a-Little-Better," a support group for wives whose husbands hit them. From a drawing on a bathroom wall, the narrator discovers they share more than simply the experience. Sal smuggles cut-rate pharmaceuticals across the Mexican border for Marco, her lover, who is dying quietly in their Tucson home in "Dragon Box." She makes these runs with a studied precision, even though the deepest connection Sal feels for Marco is through the high-quality marijuana he used to sell. The few stories that Winter writes from a man's point of view aren't as nuanced, nor are their chronicles as gripping, as those of the hard roads her women travel. While resilience is the common theme throughout the collection, it's interesting to watch Winter's grasp of her material mature; the stories become more impressive in the second half of the volume. (Dec.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The art of the short story--and our joy in it--is alive and well in the hands of a writer like Winter. Nothing in life is free, not even an occasional free lunch, she reminds us in this collection of 16 pieces of short fiction. She writes in the voice of a woman who lives alone with her large dogs, her "boys"; of a man pining hopelessly for a woman who can only humiliate him; of a triangular love affair in which a woman is in love with her roommate despite the roommate's boyfriend; and of a "wild man" who buries the dog he's come to love but who cannot stay with the woman who loves him. The message reverberates resoundingly on the page: we pay, we pay, we pay--endlessly. Sometimes Winter's characters pay for their freedom to roam aimlessly or for their yearnings to connect permanently. But they always pay with their hearts. Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Southern Methodist University Press; 1st edition (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870744569
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870744563
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,189,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I am in complete agreement with all that was written by the reviewer from Washington, DC. This is one of the best books that I have read in years, and I have been telling all of my friends and acquaintances about it.
Ms. Winter has an amazing gift for pulling the reader into the story. The characters are so real that sometimes I think I am one of them. The situations are unique yet universal in that they reveal inner truths about human nature. The settings are described naturally within the stories with just the right amount of detail.
Ms. Winter's style is somewhat similar to that of Raymond Carver, yet there is a strong undertone of optimism that is greatly lacking from Mr. Carver's work. I am always enchanted by her main characters, and I feel great empathy for them as I read their stories.
I am in AWE of this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. I was enthralled from the first story. By the third I realized that Ellen Winter was brillant. Each story is written from a unique voice -- male, female, old, young etc. It was fascinating.
Winter is a really good writer! The language is clear and smooth. She evokes believable characters and authentic scenery -- especially the heat and dryness of the Southwest. Each story is deep and enveloping. I emerged after each one, satisfied and enchanted, yet somewhat restless too. I don't live a life like her characters, yet I feel that I could be if I had made different choices in my life.
These stories feel real. I will recommend this book again and again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a GREAT book. Ms. Winter has a gift for story telling. She pulls the reader into the world of the main character of each story with stealth ease. She creates her settings through the perspective of the main character and provides only the information the character would notice. There are no extra words. Each story has just what is needed to let you see the essence of its protagonist. She is a master of her craft with an insight into the human soul.
Other writers will especially love this book because each story is so masterfully crafted.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Craig on July 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"The price you pay" is a book about love. Love in its many incarnations. Love as dangerous and destructive, and wonderful and fulfilling as you could ever hope for it to be. Ellen Winter give you a glimps of all the loves and losses that can possibly come into a persons life within these sixteen stories. Her words twist around you and bring you along for the ride, which you take beyond your better judgment. But it's a trip you will never find yourself regretting having taken.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CyberCrone on February 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
No need to repeat what a brilliant writer Winter is. I am here to ask if anyone knows what happened to this woman. I can't find a trace of her anywhere on the Internet; her phone number in Flagstaff has been disconnected. Not likely this book was not followed up by another, or stories in magazines, or anything at all, if she were still alive.
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