Lost in Uttar Pradesh: New and Selected Stories [NOOK Book]

Overview


Evan S. Connell's restraint, concision, and perfect pitch lend themselves stunningly to the short story form. He intuitively senses when to explain and when to let silence stand in speech's stead. His characters—among them, a wanderer back from Spain, the corpulent Mr. Bemis, Katia and her lion—ring true not because the stories are filled with monumental events, but because they center around seemingly insignificant experiences that remain in the mind, imbued with a meaning ever difficult to define. Often we are...
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Lost in Uttar Pradesh: New and Selected Stories

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Overview


Evan S. Connell's restraint, concision, and perfect pitch lend themselves stunningly to the short story form. He intuitively senses when to explain and when to let silence stand in speech's stead. His characters—among them, a wanderer back from Spain, the corpulent Mr. Bemis, Katia and her lion—ring true not because the stories are filled with monumental events, but because they center around seemingly insignificant experiences that remain in the mind, imbued with a meaning ever difficult to define. Often we are left to float in their wake, ending in an ellipsis of sorts. Yet by Connell's mastery, even the voices that speak only once resonate beyond the final page.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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.
Kirkus Reviews
A rich variety of settings, themes and characters distinguishes this collection from Connell (Deus Lo Volt!, 2000, etc.). Several recurring characters function as authorial surrogates and analytical observers. Restless loner William Koerner, for example, appears as a former "john" who solicits conflicting stories about an unstable prostitute he cannot forget ("Hooker"); a dutiful nephew becomes inspired and baffled by his elderly uncle's extravagant tales of foreign travels ("Nan Madol"); and an indignant liberal is appalled by his country's political naivete ("The Cuban Missile Crisis"). A reserved insurance executive known only as Muhlbach (also a prominent figure in Connell's longer fiction) is the dysfunctional paterfamilias of an icy tragicomic family in "Arcturus," which is inspired-as Connell's "Preface" acknowledges-by Thomas Mann's story "Disorder and Early Sorrow." In "St. Augustine's Pigeon," the determined protagonist reinvents himself as a sexual being after his wife's death had rendered him celibate for many years. The complacent suburbanite of Connell's novel Mrs. Bridge is reborn, intriguingly, in the paired figures of a retired stockbroker (in "Proctor Bemis"), who laments his once-great country's descent into mediocrity and dishonesty, and Bemis's still resolutely conservative spouse (in "Mrs. Proctor Bemis"). Among other highlights: a ruthlessly concise allegorical narrative (the Hemingway-like morality tale "Lion"); a chilling image of peril at sea ("Yellow Raft"); and a viciously entertaining depiction of middle-class spiritual crisis ("Noah's Ark"). Connell combines the master fiction writer's skills (brisk characterization, supple stylistic precision) with those ofa compulsive traveler, ruminative antiquarian and borderline-eccentric obsessive.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582439013
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • File size: 404 KB

Meet the Author


Evan S. Connell is the author of eighteen books, including Francisco Goya, Deus Lo Volt!, Mrs. Bridge, and Son of the Morning Star. He has received numerous awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Pushcart Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, and an award in literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
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Table of Contents

Lion 3

Hooker 10

Nan Madol 30

Proctor Bemis 48

The Walls of Avila 63

Arcturus 85

The Land Where Lemon Trees Bloom 119

Caribbean Provedor 131

Octopus, the Sausalito Quarterly of New Writing, Art & Ideas 144

Election Eve 153

St. Augustine's Pigeon 169

Bowen 205

Assassin 217

Mrs. Proctor Bemis 222

Noah's Ark 239

Puig's Wife 261

Guadalcanal 290

Yellow Raft 294

The Cuban Missile Crisis 298

Ancient Musick 304

The Palace of the Moorish Kings 319

Lost in Uttar Pradesh 338

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