Uke Rivers Delivers

Overview

In the best tradition of southern storytelling, Uke Rivers Delivers features raconteurs as beguiling as the tales they tell. These lyrical, darkly humorous monologues portray a range of denizens of the American South desperately trying to come to grips with their inherited pasts. A Confederate reenactor receives a message from the beyond to lay to rest the remains of Stonewall Jackson's horse. A docent at Washington and Lee University's Lee Chapel offers prim instruction on the facts and legends about "the ...

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Uke Rivers Delivers: Stories

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Overview

In the best tradition of southern storytelling, Uke Rivers Delivers features raconteurs as beguiling as the tales they tell. These lyrical, darkly humorous monologues portray a range of denizens of the American South desperately trying to come to grips with their inherited pasts. A Confederate reenactor receives a message from the beyond to lay to rest the remains of Stonewall Jackson's horse. A docent at Washington and Lee University's Lee Chapel offers prim instruction on the facts and legends about "the General" with both reverence and irony. The young son of a lewd, alcoholic, self-dubbed evangelist acquires the wits -- and the will -- for survival by protecting the family's sunflower crops. A midget ukulele virtuoso is so surprised by his own eruption into violence that he can attribute it only to genetics. One of Jeff Davis's fellow cross-dressers; the killer of John Wilkes Booth; a Rebel deserter whose superior exacts his pound of flesh -- all these characters and more, through their twisted and torn vernaculars, seek understanding and revival in R. T. Smith's superb collection.

LSU Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
These 14 monologues are not so much short stories as Robert Browning-like soliloquies. In them, poet (Split the Lark) and Shenandoah editor Smith shows history dominating current Southern life. An obsessed Civil War re-enactor follows the bidding of the ghost of Stonewall Jackson, stealing the taxidermied remains of his horse in "Little Sorrel." Sybil Mildred Clemm Legrad Pascal, a docent at Lee Chapel of Washington and Lee University (the Virginia school where Shenandoah is based), offers her own views of the general's life. In the title story, a short ukelele player, Parham "Uke" Rivers, tells his eventful life story, which involves some dirty business with his driver and nurse-lover Sunny (whose "hospital costume in the bedroom was a special treat"), but which centers on his love for the lovely, departed Stella. Smith does a credible job with his various players' down-home diction, but their tics and concerns never coalesce into character, standing out like items in a curio shop. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Stunning in its originality and offbeat characters, this collection includes 15 micro-stories, many just a few pages long, that explore Southern culture and experience through a carnival mirror. Smith has published 13 volumes of poetry, and that experience shows in his careful, almost lyrical use of language to distill a lot of story into very few words. Several stories concern the Civil War: in "Trousseau," Jeff Davis might be trying to escape the Yankees while dressed as a woman, in "Little Sorrel," a Civil War reenactor is inspired to bury Stonewall Jackson's horse properly, and in "The Docent," a prim Sybil Mildred Clemm Legrand Pascal takes you on a revelatory tour of the Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University. A small gem of Southern storytelling; important for regional collections and of interest to others as well.
—Ann H. Fisher
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807131879
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2006
  • Series: Yellow Shoe Fiction Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

R. T. Smith 's fiction has been published in Best American Short Stories, New Stories from the South, Best American Mystery Stories, and two Pushcart Prize anthologies. He is the author of thirteen volumes of poetry and has received the Library of Virginia Poetry Award. Raised in Georgia and North Carolina, he now lives in Rockbridge County, Virginia. He is the editor of Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review.

LSU Press

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Table of Contents

Jesus wept 1
I have lost my right 11
Docent 21
Tube rose 31
Trousseau 35
Uke Rivers delivers 51
Bitterwolf 62
Blaze 84
Razorhead the axeman 87
Dear six belles 93
Little sorrel 101
Plinking 113
Stop the rocket 119
Visitation 129
Shooting booth : the confession of Boston Corbett 134
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