The Tennessee Waltz and Other Stories

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
These sensitive, poignant stories by the author of The Grandmothers' Club reveal a middle-class, down-to-earth, gritty Southwest whose soulful tones seem to issue from ``some country music combo of the cosmos ever mourning the impending divorce among all the matter in the universe.'' A theme of separation--from spouse, children, home, country--dominates the lives of Cheuse's lonely travelers, who are often seeking escape from shattered marriages. They drift through a spacious, sunlight-streaked ``countryside . . . producing pathos beyond the limit'' and into interiors filled with country accents, cowboy boots and blues that permeate a haze of whiskey breath and cigarette smoke. Minimal plot and perfunctory dialogue in scenes ostensibly describing a slide presentation or a Nashville bus tour are balanced by a pungent subtext that requires careful reading. Perplexing, abrupt endings that drop the reader off in the middle of nowhere, and mysteries hinted at but never unveiled, make most vignettes cryptically intriguing. And Cheuse's respect and compassion for his estranged, confused characters render the stories ultimately life-affirming rather than depressing. (Apr.)
Library Journal
In these slice-of-life stories, we join characters progressing through critical, often life-changing experiences. Their magnetism is powerful, for despite the brevity of our time together, we as readers get involved with them and are concerned about their outcome once the story ends. In fact, finding that two of the stories contain the same characters, we are grateful for a second chance to try to understand how they arrived at their present situation and what they will do. These characters remind us that relationships can be transient--certainly Cheuse's most common theme. Interestingly, the stories, some of which have been published earlier, contain an unsettling mixture of both hope and despair, as if Cheuse has not made his final decision regarding the nature of the human condition.-- Dorothy Golden, Georgia Southern Coll., Statesboro
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870743405
  • Publisher: Southern Methodist University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/1992
  • Edition description: 1st Southern Methodist University Press
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.59 (w) x 8.49 (h) x 0.46 (d)

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