Living with the Hyenas

Overview

Hyenas are among God's strangest creatures. Both scavenger and predator, they prey on the old, the weak, and the helpless, and even on their fellow predators in the jungle, the lions. Even though they are braver and more dignified, lions must always contend with packs of hyenas that dog their paths. Lions live their entire lives locked in deadly competition with hyenas. Like the lions, the people in Robert Flynn's short stories learn to make accommodations to the hyenas and to a society and culture that tolerates...
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Overview

Hyenas are among God's strangest creatures. Both scavenger and predator, they prey on the old, the weak, and the helpless, and even on their fellow predators in the jungle, the lions. Even though they are braver and more dignified, lions must always contend with packs of hyenas that dog their paths. Lions live their entire lives locked in deadly competition with hyenas. Like the lions, the people in Robert Flynn's short stories learn to make accommodations to the hyenas and to a society and culture that tolerates hyenas. Whether they find themselves in Vietnam or rural Texas, Flynn's characters are often heroes in the most personal sense of the word and by standards which matter only to them. Flynn's stories make us look again at ourselves as they probe familiar if difficult subjects - the innate cruelty children inflict on each other, our detached fascination with those who are physically handicapped and deformed, the difficulty of giving and receiving gifts, our intolerance of and lack of compassion for the elderly.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The characters in Flynn's second short-story collection often find themselves confronting a system that has forgotten them, leaving them alone in a world of ``hyenas'' that prey on the helpless. Telling their stories with inconsistent results, Flynn (Wanderer Springs) moves from wartime Vietnam to rural Kansas, seeking out the isolated and emotionally disenfranchised. The opening tale, ``Land of the Free,'' chronicles a black father and daughter's attempt to build a life in rural Texas. Bullied on the school bus by white racists, Venetia later tells her father, ``I'm too tired to eat.... Or do homework or nothin.'' There is poignancy here, but a certain air of contrivance detracts from the story's effectiveness. All the locals are racist, for example, while the father and daughter remain consistently good-hearted. The same holds true for ``Reluctant Truth,'' which depicts a Southern girl's rivalry with her overachieving younger sister. Despite some rewarding comic touches, the story falters by relying on overly familiar Southern types-the tobacco-chewing grandpaw, the stern but loving mom-for its impact. The 14 remaining stories move in the same vein, often ending with Flynn pushing for meaning, rather than allowing it to emerge organically-though his prose, as bare and simple as truth, remains a joy to read. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780875651446
  • Publisher: Texas Christian University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1995
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Land of the Free 1
How I Won the War 37
A Boy and His Dog 45
Fraternities 61
Defender of the Faith 73
Volunteers 81
Reluctant Truth 99
Flight to Amman 113
Women Don't Know 125
At Play in the Sewers of the Lord 133
Things No One Told Me 143
The Perfect Gift 153
X-Mas 167
Games Children Play 177
A Second Chance 191
Living with the Hyenas 201
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