Same Place, Same Things

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Overview

In his stunning debut collection, Tim Gautreaux chronicles the lives of "ordinary" people - a farmer on his porch, a woman fixing her tractor, a train engineer passing through a small town - who face extraordinary circumstances or decisions. The farmer has just learned he must raise his infant granddaughter; the woman is about to watch a helicopter land in her back field; the train engineer will cause a colossal disaster. Most of these stories are set in Louisiana, and some incorporate the customs and cadences of...
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Same Place, Same Things: Stories

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Overview

In his stunning debut collection, Tim Gautreaux chronicles the lives of "ordinary" people - a farmer on his porch, a woman fixing her tractor, a train engineer passing through a small town - who face extraordinary circumstances or decisions. The farmer has just learned he must raise his infant granddaughter; the woman is about to watch a helicopter land in her back field; the train engineer will cause a colossal disaster. Most of these stories are set in Louisiana, and some incorporate the customs and cadences of modern Cajun life. Many are about work and how people do their jobs, from radio announcers to pump repairmen, from bug exterminators to tugboat crews. These are stories about real people, stories filled with heart and humor, event and consequence. With an unerring eye for detail and a pitch-perfect ear for language, Tim Gautreaux brings his characters to life in twelve perfectly crafted, beautifully told tales of love, redemption, and second chances. Same Place, Same Things resonates with the hope and possibility of everyday life.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A terrific debut collection from a Louisiana writer whose stylish, sympathetic understanding of working-class sensibilities and Cajun culture gives his work a flavor and universality unique among contemporary writers.

Gautreaux's 12 stories move to a musical beat, and they're filled with both verbal surprises and sudden narrative twists—sometimes into unanticipated violence, sometimes, contrarily, toward revelations of more decency and strength in his characters than we had believed them capable of. His people include the itinerant pump repairman (in the title story) who gets unfortunately involved with a phlegmatic widow who'll do anything to escape her stifling life and environment; the middle-aged widower (of "The Courtship of Merlin Le Blanc") who finds he can't escape the constrictions—and satisfactions—of family; a well-meaning exterminator ("The Bug Man") who becomes intimately, catastrophically involved in the lives of his clients; and, most memorably, the nursing-home employee (in the wonderful "Deputy Sid's Gift") whose confused responses to the "black drunk truck thief" who keeps invading his life eventually rescue him from his own meanness. Only one piece (the smug "Navigators of Thought") misfires, though the repetition of similar plot elements and the use in more than one story of the same names suggest that the book could have used more stringent editing. All of the tales are powered by a racy, vigorous prose that makes you want to keep on quoting ("He didn't know her from Adam's house cat"; "You can't work too steady if you're a Louisiana man. You got to lay off and smell the roses a bit, drink a little beer and put some wear on your truck").

Moving and memorable portrayals of people who really are changed—and, often, in spite of themselves, uplifted—by the complexities of their experiences and their relationships. The gifted Gautreaux harkens back to the early work of Flannery O'Connor.

From the Publisher
"This man is a wonderful writer. . . . I can honestly say I love to read his stories. He never exaggerates, never manipulates the reader's affections, but nonetheless he always captures the heart."—James Lee Burke

"Moving and memorable . . . The gifted Gautreaux harkens back to the early work of Flannery O'Connor."—Kirkus Reviews

"As good as stories get—any stories, in any time or palce . . . Imbued with the cich roux of family, place, race, and religion that is the base of all good Souther fiction."—The Times-Picayune

"Gautreaux is as good a storyteller as just about anyone writing short fiction in America today."—The Boston Phoenix

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312169947
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 8/28/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.92 (w) x 7.97 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Gautreaux has written three novels and two collections of short stories, one of which, Welding With Children, was selected by The New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year. His fiction has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, GQ, and Zoetrope, and also in volumes of The O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories, and New Stories from the South. He is a professor emeritus/writer in residence in the English Department at Southeastern Louisiana University.

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Table of Contents

Same Place, Same Things 11
Waiting for the Evening News 19
Died and Gone to Vegas 37
The Courtship of Merlin LeBlanc 57
Navigators of Thought 73
People on the Empty Road 87
The Bug Man 109
Little Frogs in a Ditch 127
License to Steal 151
Floyd's Girl 165
Returnings 183
Deputy Sid's Gift 195
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 28, 2012

    Highly recommended

    Tim Geatreaux's same great writing as in The Next Step in the Dance. These are stories that keep you thinking about them afterward. This author should be marketed nationally.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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