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This Is Not the Tropics: Stories
     

This Is Not the Tropics: Stories

by Ladette Randolph
 

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The stories collected in This Is Not the Tropics come from the geographic center of a divided nation, and its protagonists evoke a split personality—one half submerged in America’s own diehard mythology, the other half searching to escape tradition. Together they form a portrait of the Plains that is both quirky and poignant. While the themes in

Overview

The stories collected in This Is Not the Tropics come from the geographic center of a divided nation, and its protagonists evoke a split personality—one half submerged in America’s own diehard mythology, the other half searching to escape tradition. Together they form a portrait of the Plains that is both quirky and poignant. While the themes in this collection are familiar—love and betrayal, loneliness and regret, the needs of the individual versus the needs of the community—the tales themselves are startling and new. Whether it is the story of an eccentric out-of-work accordion player; a woman ending a long marriage against the backdrop of a visit from her failing mother; a young girl who wishes to solve a mystery until real mystery enters her life; or all of the men in a small Nebraska town who annually compete in a hilariously earnest beauty pageant, these are tales that speak of the lives lived in the small towns, the prairie cities, and on the dirt roads off blue highways in the middle of nowhere and everywhere.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.
From the Publisher
 “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.”—Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply

“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 Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House

“From the wife who discovers her husband has a gay lover to the accordion player in a polka band, Randolph gets each and every character just right.”—Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780299215132
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date:
03/07/2012
Series:
Library of American Fiction
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
292
Sales rank:
1,142,429
File size:
273 KB

Meet the Author

Ladette Randolph is editor in chief of the journal Ploughshares and teaches at Emerson College in Boston. Winner of many awards for her short stories and books, she is author of a novel, A Sandhills Ballad, and editor of two anthologies, A Different Plain and The Big Empty. She was formerly the managing editor of the journal Prairie Schooner and an acquiring editor at University of Nebraska Press.

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