Same Place, Same Things

Same Place, Same Things

3.5 2
by Tim Gautreaux
     
 

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Set largely in rural Louisiana, Tim Gautreaux's masterful debut story collection follows men and women whose ordinary lives reach a point of rupture, a moment when convention gives way to crisis and everything changes: A drunken train engineer charges toward disaster, a father borrows and old airplane to chase down his daughter's kidnapper, a young man falls in

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Overview

Set largely in rural Louisiana, Tim Gautreaux's masterful debut story collection follows men and women whose ordinary lives reach a point of rupture, a moment when convention gives way to crisis and everything changes: A drunken train engineer charges toward disaster, a father borrows and old airplane to chase down his daughter's kidnapper, a young man falls in love with a voice on the radio. Written with humor, suspense, and a powerful affection for humanity in all its wild forms, Same Place, Same Things is the first great work by a master of the form.

Editorial Reviews

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

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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312428785
Publisher:
Picador
Publication date:
01/06/2009
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.50(d)

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