Male of the Species

Male of the Species

5.0 1
by Alex Mindt

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Pushcart Prize�winner Mindt deftly captures in his debut collection men, and those around them, as they negotiate moral binds rooted in masculinity's unwritten dos and don'ts. A high school chemistry teacher transplanted from Wisconsin to West Texas flunks the star quarterback and incurs the wrath of the townsfolk�and eventually transforms his marriage in the title story. In "Stories of the Hunt," a 12-year-old boy on his first deer-hunting expedition with his father recognizes that his father lied about his experience as a courageous woodsman. The African-American dentist of "An Artist at Work" recognizes too late that his decision to move his family from Boston to a Norman Rockwell suburb has fatally alienated his teenage artist son. Similarly, in "Free Spirits," a grown son has to come to terms with his psychotic hospitalized father, who can be as violent as he is sympathetic. Mindt does not present easy choices for his characters, like the heartbroken elderly Mexican-American father in the beautifully composed opener, "Sabor a Mi": he treks to Taos, N.Mex., on the occasion of his adored daughter's marriage to another woman. Though his characters are distinct, Mindt concentrates less on people than on their conflicts, and the resulting discord is tense and surprising throughout. (May)

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Kirkus Reviews
An exploration of masculinity through a series of unsentimental stories of American fatherhood. At the center of each of Mindt's stories is a father attempting to connect in some way with his children. In the first story, "Sabor a M'," a Mexican-American man muses on his children's assimilation as he hitchhikes to his daughter's second wedding, telling the driver that he is going to a funeral because his daughter is marrying another woman. Russell, the African-American father in "An Artist at Work," doesn't know how to handle his son's creative ways of dealing with his racial identity. After Anthony burns a cross on the family lawn, for example, Russell breaks into his room and finds oddly beautiful photos that Anthony has taken of the daughter of the local Asian dry cleaner. In "Stories of the Hunt," Walt betrays his father at a hunting competition in Spokane after the father tells a lie about a catch. The title story, set in West Texas, concerns a Yankee biology teacher who dares to alienate the community, as well as his family, by flunking the captain of the football team. And in "Reception," a child tries to set up his widower father with a newly divorced neighbor, bringing the two together with forged notes and promises of freshly brewed iced tea. A universal collection, the author's debut, that not only paints a full portrait of the Father, but of his country as well.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)

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