From the Publisher
“These are stories of compassion and surprising generosity, as characters who have been trapped find escape, who have been lonely find company, and who have endured loss face not sorrow, but transformation.”—Erin McGraw, author of The Good Life: Stories
“Ladette Randolph’s stories sink their teeth into the deep Nebraska Midwest the way that Flannery O’Connor tore into the heart of Georgia. There’s a wonderfully sly, deadpan sweetness at work here, so that it may take a moment to realize how odd and twisty the stories are. Randolph seems like such a nice, earnestly polite young woman—and then suddenly your wallet is missing and she’s driving away in your car! These are beautifully crafty, beguiling stories: witty, wise, and wicked.”—Dan Chaon, author of You Remind Me of Me and Among the Missing
“Ladette Randolph’s stories have the sly, subtle intensity of a snake gliding through grass. They sneak up on their characters and the reader alike, invoking humor, grace, and wisdom before pouncing on us with exhilarating epiphanies that are as dark and brutal as they are hopeful.”—Meghan Daum, author of The Quality of Life Report and My Misspent Youth
A clear-eyed portrait of the Plains emerges over 15 debut stories from University of Nebraska press executive editor Randolf. In "Billy,"a long-resigned housewife trapped in a loveless marriage gets ready to flee town with a more compatible if unexciting married man when her husband suddenly dies. In the poignant, unnerving "Hyacinths," an unexpected pregnancy and the possibility of a church group's dubious intervention causes a once cheerful mother to rebel against the hypocrisy of a town "fossilized in the past." House-sitting her eccentric professor's home, replete with pornographic art and two needy pugs, may have more to teach a young college student about life than her closest friends in "The Girls." A small Nebraska town becomes a hotbed of aggressively charged transvestism in "Miss Kielbasa," as local men ready for the annual "queen contest" while a white daughter frets over her family's reaction to her upcoming nuptials to a black man. Solid but never surprising, the stories have a claustrophobic feel that is often appropriate to their characters' circumscribed lives, but that just as often limits their reach. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.