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Nebraska: Stories Paperback – January 11, 1994

3.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"In 11 precisely rendered stories, Hansen makes evident his breathtaking virtuosity," lauded PW . "These short narratives are utterly clean and smooth; they click together like a collection of river-washed stones that are each remarkably different yet polished by the same hand."
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Ron Hansen is the bestselling author of the novel Atticus (a finalist for the National Book Award), Hitler's Niece, Mariette in Ecstasy, Desperadoes, and Isn't It Romantic?, as well as a collection of short stories, a collection of essays, and a book for children. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Ron Hansen lives in northern California, where he teaches at Santa Clara University.

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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (January 11, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871133490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871133496
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I can only think of Barbara Kingsolver as someone whose imagery can compare to Ron Hansen's. I just love the literary images he comes up with. Nebraska is a collection of short stories, all very different from each other. My favorites:

"Wickedness": winters in Nebraska can be brutal, but January of 1888 will go down in history. The weather was pure wickedness. The story is a collage of small stories. It opens on a train, where a young teacher, on her way to Nebraska, shares the ride with a poor carpenter who lost his limbs and ears to frostbite. It continues with a variety of sad and happy endings. My favorite was the one about the pony in charge of delivering a message to parents who did not know where their child was.

"True Romance": another great story, very allegorical, about a mysterious evil force that kills cows in a particularly gruesome way. Don't want to spoil the ending, but I certainly did not see it coming.

"Red-Letter Days": an old man, avid golfer, recovering alcoholic, retired lawyer, keeps a diary. If you thought that diaries were only for teenage girls, think again. So sweet, so moving the feelings that he can pour on those pages.
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Format: Paperback
Ron Hansen has written of of the most evocative short stories I have ever read. The whole book is wonderful but "Wickedness" is so good it would be worth buying just to have that story alone.
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Format: Paperback
I had read all except one of Ron Hansen's novels, but, until now, none of his short stories - even though this collection had been sitting on my shelves for over twenty years. The stories in NEBRASKA were all written in the 1980's, when Hansen was still learning his craft. Nonetheless, most of them bear the characteristics that I have come to associate with Hansen's writing - unadorned prose and a distinctive sort of realism, in which minor details of quotidian life are precisely rendered without undue dwelling on them. Yet the stories themselves tend towards the extremes of human behavior, with many instances of violence and a few of the supernatural.

Ron Hansen is from Nebraska, and six of the eleven pieces in this collection are set in Nebraska. The last piece bears the same plain title - "Nebraska" - and it is a short profile of a Nebraska town near the Niobrara River. The first story in the collection is a collage of misfortunes visited on the inhabitants of Nebraska by the blizzard of 1888. Those two bookend pieces and three other stories ("Playland", "Can I Just Sit Here for a While?", and "Red-Letter Days") are above average and worth reading. As for the other six stories, I frankly would rather have spent the time reading them on something else (one of them was execrable).

So, as much as I admire Ron Hansen's overall work, NEBRASKA merits only three stars in my book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A collection of short stories. The first one was pretty good, the rest pretty incomprehensible, and I don't see what most of them had to do with Nebraska
I had to work hard to finish this book
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