Condor Dreams and Other Fictions

Overview

In this collection of twenty-five short stories, Gerald Haslam explores the rural areas and small towns of his native region - California's Great Central Valley. The stories reveal a principally masculine cast that is as culturally diverse, and sometimes as zany, as Westerners actually are - a Chinese laborer, a Portuguese farmer, a Vietnamese schoolboy, a black cowboy, an Okie rowdy, an Armenian poet, plus some who blend those and other ingredients. The opening story, "Condor Dreams" is a reflective and ...
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Overview

In this collection of twenty-five short stories, Gerald Haslam explores the rural areas and small towns of his native region - California's Great Central Valley. The stories reveal a principally masculine cast that is as culturally diverse, and sometimes as zany, as Westerners actually are - a Chinese laborer, a Portuguese farmer, a Vietnamese schoolboy, a black cowboy, an Okie rowdy, an Armenian poet, plus some who blend those and other ingredients. The opening story, "Condor Dreams" is a reflective and delicately instructive tale of a father and son and their connection with the California condor that serves as a metaphor for the region's traditional way of life. "Scars" is a poignant examination of the life of a young man victimized by his alcoholic mother. In "Rising Action" fifteen-year-old Ernest alternately yearns for his first sexual encounter and seeks out a confessor to save him from purgatory. In "Mal de Ojo" Haig regales his gullible charge with the tale of the longest fistfight in small-town history. These pieces range from traditional stories to vignettes to sketches and tales as Haslam seeks literary structures that powerfully project his characters and their experiences. The author's triumph in these stories is that, by making us care about his characters and their settings, he allows us to care more about ourselves and our land.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This collection of 25 short stories highlights the ethnic diversity of California's Great Central Valley. Haslam (English, Sonoma State Univ.) portrays Hispanic, Armenian, Italian, and Native Americans as well as priests, unemployed Vietnam vets, and impoverished farmers. The characters are nearly all poor, nearly all undereducated, and nearly all male-though not all stereotypical. Haslam, who has published several other collections of short stories, from Okies (New West Publications, 1973) to That Constant Coyote (Univ. of Nevada Pr., 1990), has a gritty yet reflective appreciation for the land and for its often zany inhabitants. Appropriate for regional literature collections.-Mary Margaret Benson, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, Ore.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874172270
  • Publisher: University of Nevada Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1994
  • Series: Western Literature Series
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Condor Dreams 1
Cowboys 10
It's Over. . . 17
Scars 22
Mal de Ojo 25
Medicine 34
That Blackberry Wilderness 41
China Grade 52
The Killing Pen 60
Elephant Tips 67
Good-bye, Uncle Seamus 77
Madstone 88
Return, Prodigal 93
The Last Roundup 101
Stolen Glances 110
The Souvenir 116
Sojourner 123
Widder Maker 133
Road Kill 139
Romain Pettibone's Revenge 144
Scufflin' 155
His Ways Are Myster'ous 162
The Great New-Age Caper 173
Home to America 184
Rising Action 190
Afterword 199
Acknowledgments 203
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