Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee: 44 Stories

Overview

The 44 stories of Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee—long-awaited by fans of Tate’s poetry—will come as a welcome surprise to readers unfamiliar with his previous work. Tate seems both awed and bemused by small town life, with its legends, flights of fancy, heightened emotions, tragedies and small ruptures in the fabric of ordinary existence.

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Overview

The 44 stories of Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee—long-awaited by fans of Tate’s poetry—will come as a welcome surprise to readers unfamiliar with his previous work. Tate seems both awed and bemused by small town life, with its legends, flights of fancy, heightened emotions, tragedies and small ruptures in the fabric of ordinary existence.

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Editorial Reviews

New Yorker
Like forty-four test tubes, these stories contain a series of meticulously prepared chemistry experiments. In most, two disparate characters result in a highly unstable compound, producing a fizz, a moral insight, and a sense of personality as destiny. A wife realizes that her husband is crazy. A husband realizes that his wife is crazy. A closet boxing fanatic decides to run off to Egypt with a sexy young boxing fanatic. Whatever the dysfunction, Tate, the long-acclaimed poet, uses a disarmingly pedestrian voice to lure the reader to a place of bizarre poignancy. He makes eccentricity look good, as a poet should.
Publishers Weekly
Tate brings a poet's touch to the short stories in this astounding and bizarre collection, reflecting the writer's flair for black humor and absurdity as he explores the nooks and crannies of ordinary life. Tate is a blunt, sharp narrator who takes his stories in unexpected directions, and his talent for brevity surfaces in the many short-short entries that pack a powerful conceptual wallop in just a few pages. The longer stories aren't always as effective, but they still showcase the gifts of a remarkably versatile author who handles subjects ranging from politics and business to romance, marriage and infidelity. The political angle surfaces in "Traces of Plague Found Near Reagan Ranch," a cheeky tale about a prominent politician's son who finds himself longing for a simple life until his father is shot. Tate also plays the relationship card with aplomb in several stories, including "The Torque-Master of Advanced Video," a yarn about a video store manager whose romance begins to go sour when his tyrannical boss turns up the heat on him at work. Occasionally the stories are so strange that they simply defy categorization "Beep," for instance, deals with a character who barks out strange noises in inappropriate situations, while the title story is a brief poetic musing about a middle-class man's growing sense of alienation: "I am an experiment, a mechanical bee placed near the hive." Tate's style is definitely an acquired taste, but fiction lovers who come to this book with an open mind will find themselves challenged and entertained by a brilliant writer with a very fertile imagination. (Dec. 1) Forecast: Tate has won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for his poetry, which will help draw attention to this excellent small press offering. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Tate brings a poet's touch to the short stories in this astounding and bizarre collection, reflecting the writer's flair for black humor and absurdity as he explores the nooks and crannies of ordinary life. Tate is a blunt, sharp narrator who takes his stories in unexpected directions, and his talent for brevity surfaces in the many short-short entries that pack a powerful conceptual wallop in just a few pages. The longer stories aren't always as effective, but they still showcase the gifts of a remarkably versatile author who handles subjects ranging from politics and business to romance, marriage and infidelity. The political angle surfaces in "Traces of Plague Found Near Reagan Ranch," a cheeky tale about a prominent politician's son who finds himself longing for a simple life until his father is shot. Tate also plays the relationship card with aplomb in several stories, including "The Torque-Master of Advanced Video," a yarn about a video store manager whose romance begins to go sour when his tyrannical boss turns up the heat on him at work. Occasionally the stories are so strange that they simply defy categorization "Beep," for instance, deals with a character who barks out strange noises in inappropriate situations, while the title story is a brief poetic musing about a middle-class man's growing sense of alienation: "I am an experiment, a mechanical bee placed near the hive." Tate's style is definitely an acquired taste, but fiction lovers who come to this book with an open mind will find themselves challenged and entertained by a brilliant writer with a very fertile imagination. (Dec. 1) Forecast: Tate has won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for his poetry, which will help draw attention to this excellent small press offering. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780970367259
  • Publisher: Wave Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/2004
  • Pages: 229
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


JAMES TATE is the author of thirteen books of poetry (most recently Memoir of the Hawk, 2001), and the recipient of numerous awards including fellowships from the NEA and Guggenheim Foundation, the National Book Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee is his first collection of stories.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2002

    Imagine John Cheever on LSD

    After reading the brief note in the New Yorker about this book, I haunted every bookstore in NYC (almost) until I found one that actually had a copy in stock and then literally ran home with it. And the news is: James Tates delivers. Each piece is an exquisitely crafted, very funny cameo; dead-on descriptions of who we are and how we are living in post 9/ll America. Any one of these pieces could be the basis for a fine independent film. Warning: they're addictive! (And may just inspire you to throw your TV out the window.)

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