Wherever That Great Heart May Be: Stories

Wherever That Great Heart May Be: Stories

by W. D. Wetherell
A master storyteller captures moments of despair and courage.


A master storyteller captures moments of despair and courage.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wetherell's novels (The Wisest Man in America) and stories often combine a love of nature and of the conventional outdoor activities of boyhood with a darker and more mythic, almost magic-realist, sensibility. This collection of short fiction (his third, which follows Hyannis Boat and Other Stories) features several such tales among its nine, all of which display the concentrated power of his writing. In "The Snow," for instance, as a small family living in a rural Montana cabin find themselves at the mercy of a seemingly endless snow storm, Wetherell presents a view of nature that's simultaneously beautiful, mysterious, terrifying and symbolic. He achieves a similar effect in "Those Who Cross," in which a young boy finds himself cast in the role of ferryman for a silent procession of ghostly figures; and yet again in "Natale's Hat," in which a storm at sea is apparently quelled by a man's quixotic sacrifice of his new leather hat. In story after story, Wetherell addresses major thematic and symbolic concerns without losing sight of details of character and action. His often surprising offerings read like fables, brought to life through an assured and original touch. (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
Nine idiosyncratic, moving stories from the author of, most recently, The Wisest Man in America (1995).

In his first collection since Hyannis Boat (1989), Wetherell offers a number of deftly crafted variations on the struggles of parents and children to create a shared language—often in tales set among families living by choice or misfortune on the fringe of society. In "The Road to the City," a boy, in the course of an absurd trip with his feckless father, tries desperately to penetrate the reasons for the man's increasingly manic behavior, while the frightened young boy in "The Snow" fights to find a way to help his embattled, isolated family survive a massive blizzard. In "Natale's Hat," a grown man and his elderly, ailing, bitter father are caught up in a less lethal but nonetheless alarming tangle with nature while crossing Lake Como. "In a Maritime Province" traces the awkward attempts of a long-absent father and his disaffected 17-year-old daughter to comfort each other in the wake of a death. "The Greatest Mayan Speller Extant" is an exact, heartbreaking portrait of a young girl from South America exploited by a hustler attempting to cash in on her startling talent. And "Those Who Cross," one of Wetherell's most audacious tales, is a fable set in a timeless rural past, describing in precise, beautifully modulated prose the manner in which a boy, fascinated by the river that flows past the family farm, becomes for a brief time a ferryman transporting the souls of the dead across the water. The title story, in which a man recollects the wonderful tales his exuberant grandfather once told him, is a lovely celebration of the ability of stories to stir, and transmit, something essential in our nature, an ability repeatedly on display here.

A strong collection from one of the most ambitious and inventive writers working in the form.

Product Details

University Press of New England
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.90(d)

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