Public Works

Overview

The short fictions collected in Public Works explore the extremes of human nature and literary technique. From the manic, single-sentence fiction "Public Sentence" to the carefully structured and plot-twisting "We Stand Here, Swinging Cats," Grimes' stories have an idiosyncratic and associative quality-nothing follows predictably from anything, and beginnings never foreshadow ends. While reading, one has the sense that, despite recognizable voices and themes, this imagination seems alien, as though divvying up ...

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Overview

The short fictions collected in Public Works explore the extremes of human nature and literary technique. From the manic, single-sentence fiction "Public Sentence" to the carefully structured and plot-twisting "We Stand Here, Swinging Cats," Grimes' stories have an idiosyncratic and associative quality-nothing follows predictably from anything, and beginnings never foreshadow ends. While reading, one has the sense that, despite recognizable voices and themes, this imagination seems alien, as though divvying up and parceling out the world by its own rules. In "Glue Trap," a one-legged shopkeeper offers expert instruction in the art of one-on-one combat with a rat. In "Making Love: a Translation," the stream of consciousness creates a fiction as simple as Hemingway, as wistful and dissociative as Julio Cortazar. Ultimately, Grimes' stories question the grids and schemas we impose on "reality." His is a formal defiance of the tyranny of traditional narrative, expressed with a thematic daring that moves between the contemplation of ordinary buckets and high art.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573661249
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2005
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 177
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Customs in a developing country : a prefatory story 15
The public sentence 21
Vivisection 31
Discourse on the sublime and the beautiful 39
We stand here, swinging cats 45
Glue trap 59
Farmer, pointing the way with a radish 65
Moving vehicles 71
Seven stories to live by 89
Making love : a translation 95
Examination of an afflicted man 107
Notes for the examination 110
Afterword : the life and death of Jorge Luis 115
The inspection 119
A novel failure : installment 1 of 5 159
The complete, unabridged history of parenthood 161
A novel failure : installment 2 of 5 162
Shrunk 165
A novel failure : installment 3 of 5 168
These are my last words 171
A novel failure : installment 4 of 5 174
Curtains 177
A novel failure : installment 5 of 5 180
Drafting the field report 185
Subdivisions of space 189
Hired help 194
My immortal works 196
Bucket number 28 198
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2006

    Excellent Contemporary Fiction

    I enjoyed the shorter fictions in this collection, especially 'We Stand Here, Swinging Cats,' 'Shrunk,' and 'Drafting the Field Report' (which was hilarious), but I appreciated and admire the novella, 'The Inspection,' the most. The metaphorical references to space and architecture were interesting and lasting. It is a work that I mulled over days after I had read it. I admire the way in which Grimes conjures up a truly sublime and memorable landscape, the way the story 'evolves' from a work that is 'ordinance-heavy' and funny into a piece that is vast and... historically oriented, for lack of a better phrase. It is a novella that I felt deeply invested in as a reader. It will stay with me for a long time.

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