That Constant Coyote: California Stories

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More About This Book

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Haslam's ( Okies: Selected Stories ) mostly lightweight collection of 25 stories offers some amusing tales, but the repeated use of shrewish female characters to create conflict wears thin long before the book ends. Typical are ``Dancing,'' where a man is caught between his aging parents: a father losing his ability to drive a car and a mother who would enjoy depriving him of it; and ``Joaquin,'' in which a petulant star given to sexual innuendo dismisses her leading men as California fakes, dubbing them ``Hebrew Spaniards.'' ``Tower Power'' shows two New Age charlatans, the Divine Len Schwartz and Love Sister Sunshine, as they compete for an upscale market of ``churchless-but-yearning commuters.'' ``Someone Else's Life'' recounts the lessons a boy learns from his father's foreman: on fishing and to ``remember what's real, and keep a tight hold on it.'' In ``Missing in Action,'' one of the few stories with a more serious theme, a son discovers how his father, caught up in anti-Japanese hysteria during World War II, was an accessory to burning the home of an innocent family sent away for internment. ( May )
In 25 stories (19 previously published and 6 new) Haslam (English, Sonoma State U.) reveals a rural West with a startling variety of characters and dialects--the is the big city. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874171600
  • Publisher: University of Nevada Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/1990
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2005

    Stories That Bear Reading

    The Golden Bear represents only part of California, especially now when tourists line up at Yosemite in their cars to take photos of the beasts rumaging through camp ground picnic baskets. The coyote, on the other hand, scatches out a living on the fringes of the wild, mostly hidden from view except to those who know its ways and understand its crafty, cunning nature, and, yes, its wiley spirit. Haslam stories are evocative of this smaller and more agile animal and all it symbolizes, that relatively obscure inland, middle earth of California. It's a land in the midst of transformation and adaptation, especially the expansive dusty prairies, the tomato and cotton fields and oil fields of the Great Central Valley. To say these stories are authenthic cultural expressions, and they are, understates their value as experiential visions of a generation ago when 'wild' related to something natural, like survival, not the superficial hedonism, elitist snobbery, and literature-as-fine-art intellectualism so pervasive on either coast. Read these stories and you'll never listen to surf music again, at least not without a more universal sense of what it means to be a classic. So glad to see this collection is back in print, I hope by popular demand.

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