- Perfect Paperback: 40 pages
- Publisher: New American Press (November 15, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0972967974
- ISBN-13: 978-0972967976
- Package Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.5 x 0.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,697,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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One of Star Wars, One of Doom Perfect Paperback – November 15, 2007
This is fiction in the mode of John Cheever, written for the long run, marking out those days when all you love hovers right there--maybe forever, or maybe it's about to disappear. Lee Abbott is one terrific writer. --William Kennedy
There is often a glimmer of light in his stories, and Abbott's absolutely individual voice broadens that glimmer to a gleam as his characters work at finding a way to live. His sense of shape, and the voice that drives his narrative, are the achievements of a master of the form. --Frederick Busch
All Things, All at Once is...a florid and rich cornucopia of stories, full of exuberance, passion, gravity, consolation, and utter zaniness. It is a rare collection and puts Abbott's great versatility and masterful narrative skills on vivid display. --Richard Ford
About the Author
Abbott has won the St. Lawrence award for Fiction and received two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as a Major Artist Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council. In addition to appearing in such places as Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Georgia Review, Abbott's stories have been published in The Best American Short Stories and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. Abbott has taught Creative Writing at Case Western, Washington University, and Rice University. He currently lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife Pam, and teaches in the Creative Writing program at The Ohio State University.
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This story displays flashback, flash-forward, direct address to the reader, humor, authorial intrusion, and many more writerly tactics. It's clear that there's no strategy Lee K Abbott won't use to meet the needs of his story. And it's us, his readers, who gain the most from these efforts.
The author seems to describe teacher DeWine most of the story, although he seems to have been a good teacher, just seems not to be completely happy of his current life, and has an affair with a colleague, Ms. Petty, which he has routinely seen for 10 months.
Mrs. DeWine seems obsessed with Ms. Peggy, he is distracted on what goes around him, and diverts his attention often that morning, will eventually lead to his death, because impedes him to realize what is actually happening during the shooting. He will be considered a hero, because his body is found close to the library, but ultimately his wife will put it together and discover the truth.
Whiskey and Tango (James Crawford), are two students that will carnage their classmates and teachers in the school library, they had also plotted to have 2 improvised bombs go off in the parking lot.
Whiskey's character is completely delusional, probably has bee offended or bullied by the kids in the school, during the exposition the author reveals about his schoolmates "He must take their lives because he loves them", this because they have been arrogant and offended him. He then adds they "will get nacho's" afterward.
Tango seems to be a nice kid, he has a clear understanding of the outcome of their work, "Afterward not in the plan" he has a moments when he seems thoughtful, however when asked by Whiskey if he is ready for action, he replies with a "Hail Hitler" almost to evoke Nazi efficiency for the upcoming slaughter.
Trough out the story, they don't seem to be intentionally cruel, their inner moral compass just doesn't seem to register the monstrosity they commit. Once in the library they will play games with their victims, as a result this will make the scene even more surreal. Completion of their "Job" seems to be more important than the moral value of life.
The story has several chronological variations, the effect is to keep the reader interested, by using flash-back, and selective recollection, the author is giving an enormous amount of detail, and continuously feeding the reader to maximize the suspense in regards the outcome.
Structure wise, not an easy read for me. It's not a formal structure; most of the exposition comes from long, run on sentences. Hard to read, most times have to start the paragraph over, since the narrator dose not seem to follow any idea trough, rather just spurts what he has on his mind about all the characters.
Exposition can be found trough out the story. The author starts from hours before Whiskey and Tango's plan is to be put in action, starts as if the narrator's mind is racing, his anger is explicit. He then describe the other students, he uses the life in school as a vehicle to set up their characters.
The author changes to Whiskey and Tango, they will deliver the slaughter, the narrative seems to go from what happens inside the school, being told by author to outside, two parallel stories which will be united by the climax and conclusion.
Complication is set by the time passing, each hour is described by the bell ringing, always closer to the attach time, uncertainty and tension build up, the reader is wondering if the kids will actually go trough with this. Following Whiskey and Tango trough the library and finally arriving circulation desk where they find the Wildcats waiting, Whiskey sais" Here we are now, Entertain us" and again the author goes back to recounting about Mr. DeWine's lunch break, this increases curiosity on what will happen next with the Wildcats.
More growth in the conflict, Whiskey and tango are carrying out their massacre, they are playing games with the students in the library, the author describes the sheer brutality yet almost playfulness of the carnage, he continually uses contrast words that would connect the reader with almost children innocence "Free Cookie Day" Day Streamers hanging from guns to savage brutality. Almost to remind his students, are somewhere in between childhood and adulthood.
The two will `encounter with Ms Peggy, the author is great in delivering the tension of the moment, how unreal it must seem to the victims, Ms. Petty tells Tango how she cant believe what is happening, since he was such a nice boy, he simply replies that he still is.
Mr. DeWine finally heads for the library to seek Ms. Petty, his inability to understand the situation has played a vital role, he should have fled, yet he is face to face with Whiskey and Tango. I particularly liked the last few words, when Mr. DeWine sais his father never hit him in anger; Whiskey agrees with him, leaving the reader to wonder what went wrong with him.
The structure of this story is not traditional, the resolution is not at the end, the wife of Mr. DeWine will eventually find out the relationship he had with Ms. Petty. He is depicted as a fraud as a husband and as a hero, since he did not oppose the gunmen at all.