At the Owl Woman Saloonby Tess Gallagher
Set primarily in the Northwest, where the author was born and has lived for many years, these stories tell how people do more than cope with the hard turns and shares of their lives. We watch them take the unexpected next step as they face their dilemmas. Whether writing of a woman who discovers that her husband is having an affair after stumbling onto a collection of… See more details below
Set primarily in the Northwest, where the author was born and has lived for many years, these stories tell how people do more than cope with the hard turns and shares of their lives. We watch them take the unexpected next step as they face their dilemmas. Whether writing of a woman who discovers that her husband is having an affair after stumbling onto a collection of love letters or of the people who populate the Owl Woman "saloon" of the lead story, Gallagher invents wholly original characters and renders them with lyrical intensity. As with the great short stories of Flannery O'Connor, Gallagher's prose animates the no-nonsense themes of love, human pain, and healing.
Many of the pieces focus on the emotional repercussions of losing a loved one (Gallagher was married to Raymond Carver). In the amusing "My Gun," a recent widow is forced to deal with hitherto unexpected elements in her husband's past. Her droll meditations on whether or not to buy a gun for protection are interwoven with her narrative of shocked discoveries. Another quirky tale on the nature of widowhood, "Mr. Woodriff's Neckties," describes the mannerly relationship between Mr. Woodriff, a famous novelist dying of cancer, and his next-door neighbor, whose wife also has the disease. Told with sweetness and a pragmatic attitude toward life and death, the story revolves around the small acts of kindness between the two men (like when the neighbor knots a tie for Mr. Woodriff, who never learned how), deftly probing the nature of charity. "Rain Flooding Your Campfire" offers a clever play on narrative consistency when the narrator's version of events (the visit of recently widowed friend Norman) challenges Mr. G's story. She and Mr. G work together at the gas company, though Mr. G is actually a failed novelist, looking for material from wherever he can find it, so that Norman, who is blind, offers great grist for Mr. G`s mill. Outshining Mr. G`s quirkiness is "The Poetry Baron" (as he likes to think of himself)a middle-aged English professor with Napoleonic delusions and the quintessential roving eye. Many of the stories are distinguished by a meditative, sometimes somber, humor.
A worthwhile collection, then, with a few failed tales, focusing on the simple patterns and complex relationships of everyday life.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)
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