Here We Are in Paradise: Stories

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The much-praised stories that make up Here We Are in Paradise create entire worlds and indelible moments as only the best short fiction can do. The characters here are people caught in extremis, at points in their lives when their knowledge of their own heart is forced to change or grow, when they begin to understand another person truly, when the forces and places that have shaped them become clear to them at last. The lovely "My Father's Heart" named a Distinguished Story of 1992 in The Best American Short ...
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Overview

The much-praised stories that make up Here We Are in Paradise create entire worlds and indelible moments as only the best short fiction can do. The characters here are people caught in extremis, at points in their lives when their knowledge of their own heart is forced to change or grow, when they begin to understand another person truly, when the forces and places that have shaped them become clear to them at last. The lovely "My Father's Heart" named a Distinguished Story of 1992 in The Best American Short Stories and "Aliceville" selected by National Public Radio's "Sound of Writing" as one of the best stories of '92 explore a young man's awakening to a rural world taut with unspoken emotion. "Charlotte," selected for The Best American Short Stories 1993 and New Stories from the South: The Year's Best 1993, is a muscular, funny story about the insecurities of early adulthood, revealed through the windows of romance and professional wrestling. The magisterial title story and "The Prophet from Jupiter" both look inside hearts full to bursting with loss and fury and lessons learned too late. All these stories are set in North Carolina and exude a powerful sense of place, a place that breathes through every vivid, unforgettable character. It is rare that a first book of fiction displays such extraordinary gifts of understanding and craft. Tony Earley's stories will take up lodging in your memory and stay with you forever.

A major literary debut--vivid, emotionally powerful stories from the modern South. Set in the big cities, tiny hamlets, mountain hollows, and tourist towns of North Carolina, Earley's remarkable stories are suffused with a special sense of place--and alive with the mysteries of the human heart.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Eight beautifully crafted tales illuminate the lives of 20th-century North Carolinians in this debut collection from Earley, whose work has been published in Harper's , Tri-Quarterly and other literary periodicals. With quirky ruefulness, he narrates the experiences of ordinary people who may or may not matter to anyone but themselves. In ``Charlotte'' which also appears in Best American Short Stories 1993 , the manager of a bar recalls an epic battle between two professional wrestlers in the days before ``Frannie Belk gathered up all the good and evil in our city and sold it four hours south''--to Atlanta, where the wrestlers now fight on TBS. The narrator of both ``Aliceville'' and ``Story of Pictures'' chronicles his Depression-era boyhood, remembering how glimpses of a flock of geese and a woman bathing in a pond awakened him to the world outside his hometown. ``My Father's Heart'' captures the bittersweet longing of a boy who knew his father only through the memories of others. In each of these stories, Earley deftly weaves together several thematic strands to create complex, richly rewarding fiction. His tales connect with the heart. Feb.
Library Journal
Earley has written eight short stories about regular folks living in North Carolina, coping with the trials of their existence. None of the characters is glamorous, but all reveal a basic humanity. Earley's style varies from pure narrative to stream of consciousness. In ``The Prophet of Jupiter,'' a damkeeper intersperses the story of Lake Glen with his feelings about his estranged wife's carrying another man's child. ``Aliceville'' is a charming story about a young boy who sees a large flock of geese while out with his uncle and returns to hunt them. The title story portrays an older couple's response to the wife's breast cancer and mastectomy. Three of the stories feature young Jim Glass and his eccentric family. In each, the mother strives to keep her deceased husband's memory alive by endlessly telling stories about him. While the subject matter is not extraordinary, this collection is engaging and down to earth. For general readers.-- Kimberly G. Allen, MCI Corporate Information Resources Ctr., Washington, D.C.
Melanie Duncan
Tony Earley centers this collection of stories on people and places in North Carolina. He blends reality into his fiction to create earthy, hometown stories with tremendous emotional depth and impact. In "Charlotte," the Southeastern Wrestling Association has left town, and people will never be the same; Jim Glass Jr. revisits his memories in "Aliceville," "Story of Pictures," and "My Father's Heart"; and a married couple faces the aftermath of cancer treatment and a mastectomy in "Here We Are in Paradise." Earley's style tracks seemingly disjointed ramblings through the minds of his protagonists, but as the stories progress, these ramblings form a cohesive pattern that suddenly clicks into place and leads the reader to the realization of a singular purpose. Universally appealing but recommended particularly for southern literature collections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316199629
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 2/28/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 198
  • Product dimensions: 5.83 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Table of Contents

The Prophet from Jupiter 3
Charlotte 33
Here We Are in Paradise 56
Gettysburg 82
Lord Randall 121
Aliceville 145
Story of Pictures 156
My Father's Heart 169
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2000

    UTENSILS

    I bought this beautiful collection of stories years ago and loved it. Then I moved. And moved again. And again. All my books went into boxes, which went into my parents' attic. I recently revisited the attic and found HERE WE ARE IN PARADISE at the top of a box marked UTENSILS. It's as stunning now as it was the first time I read it. I read the opening paragraphs of 'Charlotte' to my college fiction writing students and made them write about 'something that is gone'-- you know, like the professional wrestlers. They must have been inspired, because they turned in some of their best work yet. If you missed this collection when it first came out, read it now!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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