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Still Wild : Short Fiction of the American West 1950 to the Present Paperback – June 5, 2001
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Sybil Downing The Denver Post It has been said that good short stories create a single impact that sticks with the reader. Every story in this anthology qualifies.
About the Author
- Item Weight : 15.4 ounces
- Paperback : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0684868830
- ISBN-13 : 978-0684868837
- Dimensions : 5.25 x 1.1 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster; 1st Edition (June 5, 2001)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #638,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The stories are varied and interesting, holding up better as isolated short stories rather than a comprehensive cohesive whole. I'd had this as an undergraduate in an Honors program and then again as a graduate student, so for me these stories are like old friends. Standout stories include Gilb's character study "Romero's Shirt", Stegner's "Buglesong", Mark Jude Poirier's "Cul-de-sacs", Rick Bass's "Mahatma Joe", and Richard Ford's "Rock Springs". All capture the insular and isolated nature of the West and the people who live there along with the mysterious and strange sway the West can have over people. Some of these stories provided laugh out loud funny moments and others made me ponder things quite deeply. It's a pretty rare book that can make you do both!
Yet, in many ways, although selecting stories for an edition such as this must be an arduous, difficult, but also rewarding task, it appears as though emphases were placed on the dark qualities of the west, the tragedies and the sadness. True that tragedy tends to be a more expressive emotion than joy, and despair makes for more depth of thought than happiness, yet the prevailing tone of the stories is one of inevitable human suffering with occasional light moments.
Aside from that quality, the stories were well-written, though-provoking tales by outstanding writers of today. Especially notable are the stories of Wallace Stegner, William Hauptman, and Annie Proulx of Brokeback Mountain fame. Each story has a unique, rugged individualistic element, representative of the west with its demands on the human spirit. One overriding theme of the book is the West's tendency to separate the strong from the weak, in a kind of unforgiving Darwinesque philosophy. Yet hidden within the pages, sometimes more overtly than at other times, is the human desire to protect the weak and find the good.
This book is a welcome addition to short story collections and worth reading by Western enthusiasts as well as those preferring shorter fiction than the novels generally found in the genre.
A Californian with a family of Vietnamese in-laws is accused by a neighbor of shooting his pit bull in Dao Strom's "Chickens." In New Mexico, a father and his soon-to-be-disillusioned teenage son hit the road to keep at least one step ahead of trouble in Robert Boswell's "Glissando." Meanwhile, an Indian baseball team with a one-armed pitcher goes on the road in the Dakotas during the worst years of the Dust Bowl in Jon Billman's "Indians." And there's Annie Proulx's story of those two Wyoming cowboys who find love on "Brokeback Mountain."
It's a fine, entertaining collection, though one might question the inclusion of excerpts from novels (Jack Kerouac and Louise Erdrich) and William Gass's novella "The Pedersen Kid," when there are so many other fine writers of short stories, Maile Meloy, David Long, William Kittredge, Sherman Alexie, and Adrian Louis to name a few. But this is a minor quibble in a volume that belongs on any shelf of literature of the American West.
Top reviews from other countries
This whole volume is going to give me some very wakeful nights and I am very much thankful for stories like these - perhaps simple stories to some folks, but stories that drag my mind back to when life might have been considered maybe a wee bit easier, but by heckey! it still had it's complications! Indeed!