Jack Kerouac Is Pregnant: Stories

Overview

"It takes so long to see you are a slave," muses one character in these lyrical, sometimes bitingly funny chronicles of women breaking out of imposed roles. Jack Kerouac Is Pregnant chronicles the dreams of misplaced waitresses, prostitutes and other working girls, the survival techniques of secretaries too smart to take orders. Using narrative elements poetically, Sheehan subverts the notion of linear storytelling, creating kaleidoscopic ...

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Overview

"It takes so long to see you are a slave," muses one character in these lyrical, sometimes bitingly funny chronicles of women breaking out of imposed roles. Jack Kerouac Is Pregnant chronicles the dreams of misplaced waitresses, prostitutes and other working girls, the survival techniques of secretaries too smart to take orders. Using narrative elements poetically, Sheehan subverts the notion of linear storytelling, creating kaleidoscopic stories by layering and contrasting various elements.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sheehan's first book is comprised of 15 short stories that are-without exception-artful yet disappointingly indistinct. In ``The Roller Skating Queen,'' a young woman forgets her troubles (that her child was fathered by her mother's boyfriend, for instance) by spending long hours skating in Central Park. ``The Bone Man'' concerns Scarlett, a Latin American fortune-teller named after the famous southern belle; moving to New York, she finds her father, who abandoned her and her mother when she was a child. A women in ``Twin'' mourns the death of her twin brother in the army. Sheehan's talents are evident but so are her faults: her style leans toward minimalism with chillingly detached imagery-and this isn't as felicitous a combination as it might seem. Because she largely withholds narrative and emotional context, her protagonists melt in the mind into one distraught ber-character, a young woman struggling through life with troubling relations with men who seem to care only about shaking her off or knocking her up. For all the evident art, there isn't much complexity here. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Some women in this debut collection recognize a need to gain control of their lives, to break out of roles imposed upon them. A few, such as Kasha in "A Shape in the Water," think only that the world has narrowed the choices: slave or whore. She may not like being a hooker, but Kasha's limited imagination never scans beyond her former middle-class, confining, "normal" life. The woman in the title story, much as she'd like to go "on the road," can't escape life with her "future husband" because, like all girls, she's been taught to be a pansy: "it seemed like the road to success." Sheehan does her best work when she gives us more than just a glimpse of a story, as in "The Roller Skating Queen": a young woman who has had a child with her mother's boyfriend sprinkles "a packet of wisteria get away powder" around the apartment. In "The Bone Man," a Latina attends college in New York-her mother's idea of the promised land-only to get pregnant, quit school, and start doing "spiritual readings" of tarot cards like her mother before her. Recommended for literary collections.-Ron Antonucci, Hudson Lib. & Historical Soc., Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564782625
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 188
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Aurelie Sheehan is the author of two novels and two short story collections, most recently, Jewelry Box: A Collection of Histories (BOA Editions, 2013). Her work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly, Conjunctions, Epoch, Fairy Tale Review, Fence, New England Review, The New York Times, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. She has received a Pushcart Prize, a Camargo Fellowship, and the Jack Kerouac Literary Award. Sheehan teaches fiction at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Table of Contents

Prologue
Jack Kerouac Is Pregnant 1
A Shape in the Water 18
The Bone Man 27
The Dove 58
How to Have a Broken Heart 64
The Roller Skating Queen 70
Belle's Sister 81
Lost in the Last Act of La Traviata 86
Twin 95
Henry's Suitcase 99
Charisma 106
Legend 109
The Toreador 119
Matilda 133
Look at the Moon 137
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