Her Kind of Want

Her Kind of Want

by Jennifer S. Davis
     
 

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Set mainly in the small towns of Alabama, the stories in Her Kind of Want ache with the relentless longing of the poor, struggling, usually discarded southern women who tell us their lives—lives that seem to revolve around men whose only presence is their absence.

Bebe, Luna, Melly, Little Hula, Dena. These are just a few of the women we meet in

Overview

Set mainly in the small towns of Alabama, the stories in Her Kind of Want ache with the relentless longing of the poor, struggling, usually discarded southern women who tell us their lives—lives that seem to revolve around men whose only presence is their absence.

Bebe, Luna, Melly, Little Hula, Dena. These are just a few of the women we meet in Jennifer Davis's award-winning collection. Women who married too fast, had children too young, and drink too much. Yet beneath their unpolished exteriors, these women are flesh and blood, and their wants and needs are as severe and deep as any.

Davis's characters relate their stories in voices as complex and raw as their southern environment. Each tale may sound slightly familiar—an unwanted pregnancy, a fast car flying down a country road—but Davis moves beyond the familiar stories of the rural South to expose the gaps that connect these women, creating startlingly real and vibrant characters.

Although often bleak and sometimes disturbing, Her Kind of Want is a celebration of southern people, their perseverance, their spirit, and their determination to make the ugly beautiful.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Jennifer Davis writes like a magician. She writes of the ordinary and the amazing with equal precision, making us believe there is no difference between the two. She catches us up between her heartache for and her terror of the South, until the most northern among us think we were born there. She leaves us breathless and amazed—saddened, hopeful, wanting only more.” —Pam Houston, author of Cowboys Are My Weakness

Publishers Weekly
The unfulfilled sexual and domestic longings of a series of Southern women are the narrow but surprisingly affecting focus of this debut story collection. Stylistically, Davis's prose is rich with intriguing musings and conceits, and the characters' voices betray a range of humble origins as they relate their heartaches and misadventures. "What Kind of Man" is a funny, poignant account of a woman's attempts to come to grips with her husband's flightiness as he refuses to battle back from unemployment. "Some Things Collide" is a more compassionate narrative about a woman who takes an unsuccessful road trip with a friend to try to distract herself from a breast cancer diagnosis. Davis displays a vivid imagination in "Tammy, Imagined," a bizarre yet effective story about a woman who tries to meet men by presenting different versions of herself in a series of letters she writes to soldiers, a tactic that proves disastrous when she finally meets one of her correspondents. Davis has a flair for creating confused, frustrated female protagonists who have a tendency to wear both their hearts and their libidos on their sleeves, but the nine stories begin to acquire a sameness of tone as the collection unfolds. Winner of the 2001 Iowa Short Fiction Award, this volume demonstrates Davis's keen understanding of the sensibilities and longings of women whom life has cheated. Building on that empathy, she might offer a wider range of protagonists and situations next time. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
You know you're a redneck when there are so many of you trying to be outsiders that Barnes & Noble gives you your own section in the store. It's hard to identify the individual talent of debut writer Davis, this year's Iowa Short Fiction Award winner, who, in trying to pin down an unexplored Alabama, seems also compelled to use the style of various southern masters as if to prove that she's in complete command of her literary heritage. The first piece, "Rewriting Girl," captures the whole idea, in a way-we hear the tale of a ravishing redneck girl, often written about, but finally now writing her own story. "Some Things Collide" is about a girl who runs off to Florida to escape a lump in her breast, only to encounter quicker forms of death and the knowledge that wisdom, too, grows like a tumor. No southern collection, it seems, would be complete without a tale told by an idiot: The only appeal of "Only Ends" is its semiretarded voice suspended somewhere between Faulkner and Forrest Gump. Davis explores the difficult lives of women ("The One Thing God'll Give You") in a world where all the men are named Fast Eddie and have clever similes for women's private parts. Similarly, "Pojo's and the Buttery Slope" is about a down-home woman with a dead husband who's trying to find another, in the process learning that owning a man means you're empty-handed. Davis is talented and flexible, but her vision of the South too often boils down to women acting rampantly promiscuous while they worry about looking like whores. A talent still emerging and perhaps impeded by a preimagined vision of itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780877458180
Publisher:
University of Iowa Press
Publication date:
08/28/2002
Series:
Iowa Short Fiction Award Series
Pages:
152
Sales rank:
1,187,218
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.70(d)

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