Virtually all of these 22 stories from octogenarian Connell (Mrs. Bridge) are set in the U.S.-"an insensate, vulgar, flatulent, bloodless...nation of merchant, thugs, Protestants, and barbers"-where trapped characters fantasize of faraway lands. Its women-profiteering grifters and whores ("St. Augustine's Pigeon," "Hooker"), reactionary viragoes ("Mrs. Proctor Bemish"), an evil secretary and a despotic nanny, to name a few-are set up as straw ladies to be torched by reams of male resentment. The misogyny of Mulbach, an embittered insurance salesman who occupies some 90 pages across three stories, as well as the more subdued, exotically inclined sexism of the book's other recurrent voices (Uncle Gates and Koerner), are frequently unpalatable. But they aren't the measure of Connell's vision, which includes inspired depictions among the bile (in particular of Mulbach's young son, Otto, and of a horrifying WWII scene in Guadalcanal). But Connell is also no Céline, whose effulgent prose could transcend his venomous obsessions, and the book ends up trapped in its characters' own unpleasantness. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Lost in Uttar Pradesh: New and Selected Storiesby Evan S. Connell
Although he may be best known for his novels Mr. Bridge and Mrs. Bridge, or perhaps for his brilliant biography of Custer, Son of the Morning Star, Evan S. Connell is an undisputed master of the short story. His restraint, concision, and perfect pitch lend themselves beautifully to the form, and he intuitively senses when to explain and when to/i>/i>/i>… See more details below
Although he may be best known for his novels Mr. Bridge and Mrs. Bridge, or perhaps for his brilliant biography of Custer, Son of the Morning Star, Evan S. Connell is an undisputed master of the short story. His restraint, concision, and perfect pitch lend themselves beautifully to the form, and he intuitively senses when to explain and when to let silence stand in speech’s stead. Lost in Uttar Pradesh collects new work by Connell along with some of his earlier masterpieces. Memorable characters like the corpulent Mr. Bemis, Katia and her lion, and a wanderer back from Spain ring true not because their stories are filled with monumental events but because they center around seemingly insignificant events that somehow remain in the mind. Through Connell’s mastery, the most trivial happening, the voice that speaks only once, resonates far beyond the final page.
- Counterpoint Press
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