Tina in the Back Seat: Stories

Overview

In thirteen dazzling and disquieting tales, Rawley exposes the broken dreams and ravaged lives of individuals who live on the outskirts of mainstream society. A Hollywood-legend lookalike whose diminutive stature masks a huge craving for love; a career trophy wife with a gift for pleasing rich old men; a wealthy Asian amtron seeking a precarious salvation through gambling; two retired hit men reminiscing about the good old days--these portraits offer a searing vision of the dark side of sun-drenched California. ...
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Tina in the Back Seat

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Overview

In thirteen dazzling and disquieting tales, Rawley exposes the broken dreams and ravaged lives of individuals who live on the outskirts of mainstream society. A Hollywood-legend lookalike whose diminutive stature masks a huge craving for love; a career trophy wife with a gift for pleasing rich old men; a wealthy Asian amtron seeking a precarious salvation through gambling; two retired hit men reminiscing about the good old days--these portraits offer a searing vision of the dark side of sun-drenched California. As poetic as it is brutal, this collection resoundingly confirms the late Donald Rawley's reputation as a peerless chronicler of the secret longings of desperate lives.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The 13 stories in this collection exhibit the spry talent of Pushcart Prize-anthologized fiction writer and poet Rawley (The Night Bird Cantata; Duende: Poems), who died in May 1998. In his final collection, Rawley sets most of his stories in California, and while many delve into gay themes, all seek to explore a range of unpredictable experiences in the company of eccentric but appealing characters. Several tales boast fascinating premises. In "Baby Liz," a midget-sized Elizabeth Taylor look-alike, her innocence long gone, forms a friendship with a five-year-old neighbor boy. The narrator of "At the Four Seasons Hotel" eavesdrops on the boastful reminiscences of two retired hit men and realizes that they are still lethal, with "eyes as cold as brass on a coffin." Rawley's flair for characterization is notable. His best effort is the title story of Tina, a sassy, promiscuous 20-year-old who likes to keep moving. Her spirit is wonderfully brazen: "I don't drift. I fly." Temporarily without shelter, she gets her one-night-stand to loan her his chauffeured limo as transport to the next pit stop in her travels. The breezy story turns poignant as Tina remembers being abandoned at age 11 by her mother, who coolly told her, "Baby, it's time to travel." "The Spells of an Ordinary Twilight" lyrically evokes the pain of Frances, a mother grieving over the freak murder of her 24-year-old daughter. And the collection's opener, "The Bible of Insects" is a charming, intimate look at middle-aged Inez doing what she does best: lovingly edging her wealthy, 89-year-old fifth husband toward a pleasant death. Even the less polished pieces here are keepers, while the best ones sparkle like jewels. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380807239
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/1999
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.22 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.44 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2005

    A Brilliant Collection of Stories

    I usually don't enjoy short story collections, but Donald Rawley is such a masterful writer, I could not put this book down. His themes are intense, memorable, and illuminating.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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