Sister Coyote: Montana Stories

Sister Coyote: Montana Stories

by Mary Clearman Blew
     
 

Set in small-town Montana of the Vietnam era and the present day, these short stories, linked by character and place, are populated by men and women in conflict - with their own desires, with each other, and with their alternately beautiful and harsh landscape. Hunting is a theme throughout - deer poaching by spotlight, coyote hunting by airplane, being hunted by a

Overview

Set in small-town Montana of the Vietnam era and the present day, these short stories, linked by character and place, are populated by men and women in conflict - with their own desires, with each other, and with their alternately beautiful and harsh landscape. Hunting is a theme throughout - deer poaching by spotlight, coyote hunting by airplane, being hunted by a cougar, hunting for love. In the funny, poignant "Suzanne, Take Me Down," a man trapped in the "stale tail end" of his life seeks redemption in the form of a fallen-from-grace girl from a strict religious sect. In "Bears and Lions" a cougar is the living symbol of all the forces that threaten a family trying to hold onto their ranch in a changing West. "Varia's Revenge" features a sixty-year-old woman's unexpected triumph over the hunter who mistook her mare for a deer. And the title novella is a devastating tour de force that traces the intersecting paths of a female coyote, a coyote hunter, and a divorced mother who drifts, over increasing humiliations, into madness and attempted murder. Sister Coyote offers haunting, richly textured fiction from a writer who "is on many people's best western writing short list" (The Los Angeles Times Book Review). (61/4 X 91/4, 220 pages)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Women come of age on the modern frontier in this collection of seven linked works (six stories and a novella) set among the ranches, ranges, households, highways and snowstorms of Montana. Some take place in the 1960s, some in the '90s; several involve Laura, a Montana-bred attorney now living in Seattle. The strong, controlled tale "Kids in the Dark" depicts Laura in her early teens as she accompanies older boys on a nocturnal deer hunt and shakily proves herself braver than they are. "Hunter Safety" finds the adult Laura, now divorced, taking her teenaged son to a hunter's safety course and trying to come to terms with the brutal masculine world of her home state. Other stories have more complex structures and leave more (perhaps too much) work for the reader. The same could be said of the otherwise excellent, harsh novella from which the book takes its title, which links the gradual decline of a 30-ish woman to the life and fate of a young coyote. Divorced, depressed, harried and overweight, Beth Anne sinks into a numb despair, alienating everyone around her. Her plight is accentuated as she crosses paths with airborne pelt hunters, a hapless sheep rancher and a frightened teacher alone on a highway. Blew's well-received previous work includes story collections (Runaway; Lambing Out) and memoirs (All But the Waltz), also set in and around Montana's rough countryside. Aficionados of Rick Bass and Richard Ford will find Blew's mountain West settings familiar. Her focus on women, however, sets her apart. More attention to characters, less to stylistic experiment, would have made this a powerful collection. As it is, the narratives' many good scenes, compelling landscape descriptions and unflinching look at hard lives make Blew a writer to watch. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
New York Times Book Review
[Mary Clearman Blew] writes with fierce pride and an unforgettable clarity.
Smithsonian
Blew's style is spare and plain in the western manner, often understated, the words bitten off sharply the way cowboys speak.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585740710
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
07/01/2000
Pages:
220
Product dimensions:
6.29(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.85(d)

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