Wet Places at Noon

Wet Places at Noon

by Lee K. Abbott
     
 

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Abbott's community is pure Americana, a wild world inhabited by gloriously street-smart smartasses: overeducated, underemployed men mourning for the confident women who have left them—or have they?—but knowing that equally confident women are just around the corner—or are they? His urgent, maximalist style allows their exhilarating voices to be heard… See more details below

Overview

Abbott's community is pure Americana, a wild world inhabited by gloriously street-smart smartasses: overeducated, underemployed men mourning for the confident women who have left them—or have they?—but knowing that equally confident women are just around the corner—or are they? His urgent, maximalist style allows their exhilarating voices to be heard and remembered.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
More salty, exuberant tales of modern men struggling to make sense of their lives, fighting the temptation to make self- destructive gestures "of the spectacular and dreadful kind," by a writer with one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary fiction.

Abbott's sixth collection of short stories (Living After Midnight, 1991, etc.) doesn't stray far from the terrain of his previous volumes. The eight pieces are set largely in the Southwest, and focus on baffled, essentially decent middle-aged men (many of them veterans of the Vietnam war) suffering from several kinds of severe internal turbulence. In "Wet Places At Noon," Eddie, a refugee from the middle class, is struggling, with the help of his lover, to construct firewalls in his life to hold back the madness that keeps threatening to erupt. In "On Tuesday Nothing, On Wednesday Walls," Harry, reluctant to start over, maneuvers desperately (and ingeniously) to remain a part of his bemused ex-wife's life. Women in these stories spend their time reacting to the frenzied hijinks of their husbands or lovers, sometimes, as in "Wet Places At Noon," being drawn into the contests their men are absorbed in, and at other times, as in "On Tuesday Nothing," good-humoredly keeping themselves at arm's length from the action. In some tales they are largely absent: Billy, the protagonist of "The Human Use of Inhuman Beings," despite a serene marriage, discovers that the most intimate relationship in his life remains his longstanding acquaintance with an angel—who only appears to Billy to announce the deaths of loved ones. All of these stories are narrated in the invigorating prose that has become Abbott's trademark, mingling the tang and vigor of regional speech with sly humor and a jaunty, startling cadence.

Too rich, perhaps, for some tastes, but fiction with a vigor, intelligence, and rueful wit sorely lacking from the work of many of Abbott's contemporaries.

From the Publisher
“Abbott writes like a fallen angel. These are wild, vibrant stories, caustic and sardonic, wildly funny and bitter as grief, full of passion and perfidy. As his characters crash through burnt-over landscapes and tune into 'the talk talked by worms,' they bring us an odd kind of hope.”—Andrea Barrett

"Abbott writes about the singular moments that change our lives forever and leave us, all too often, standing knee-deep in the wreckage we've come from. His is a universe on the verge of chaos, just barely held together by the curved space of language and love. These are stories that matter, folks, matter a great deal indeed. Wet Places at Noon is subversive and compassionate. It will remind you why you started reading stories in the first place: to be enchanted, to live for a while in a world more vivid and compelling than the one you come from."—John Dufresne

“Lee Abbott is a chief reason we go to the short story for its portrayal of the unannounced life. He celebrates the immensity in each character's moment, and he captures the gorgeous, sassy, and sometimes desperately joyous music with which we enchant ourselves. Wet Places at Noon is a muscular, crafty, and fond collection by a writer who matters enormously.”—Frederick Busch

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781587290008
Publisher:
University of Iowa Press
Publication date:
11/01/1997
Series:
Iowa Short Fiction Award
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
204
File size:
0 MB

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What People are saying about this

Frederick Busch
"Lee Abbott is a chief reason we go to the short story for its protrayal of the unannounced life. He celebrates the immensity in each character's moment, and he captures the georgeous, sassy, and sometimes desperately joyous music with which we enchant ourselves. Wet Places at Noon is a muscular, crafty, and fond collection by a writer who matters enormously."
Andrea Barrett
"Abbott writes like a fallen angel. These are wild, vibrant stories, caustic and sardonic, wildly funny and bitter as grease, full of passion and perfudy. As his characters crash through burnt over landscapes and tune into 'the talk talked by worms,' they bring us an odd kind of hope."
Bob Shacochis
"Lee Abbott is a significan American writer, one of our culture's more compelling stylist, acrobat of the word. Abbott's voice has the familarity of a front porch storyteller, the voice of guy in every picture of every high school prom who has what he wrongly thinks is a firm grip on life and love and from that point thereafter disappears into an unkind world."

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