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Wild, Cold State
     

Wild, Cold State

by Debra Monroe
 

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In the lavishly acclaimed collection of short stories A Wild, Cold State, Flannery O'Connor Award -- winning author Debra Monroe takes us into the lives of women striving for love and emotional fulfillment amidst a forbidding topography of glacial winds and stormY, unpredictable men.

Set in rural Wisconsin, these interwoven tales run a gamut of moods and textures,

Overview

In the lavishly acclaimed collection of short stories A Wild, Cold State, Flannery O'Connor Award -- winning author Debra Monroe takes us into the lives of women striving for love and emotional fulfillment amidst a forbidding topography of glacial winds and stormY, unpredictable men.

Set in rural Wisconsin, these interwoven tales run a gamut of moods and textures, ranging from the warmly nostalgic "The World's Great Love Novels, " in which the young narrator observes the extreme compromises adults make in the name of love, to the hard-edged and gritty "Crossroads Cafe, " in which a waitress searches for tenderness, though nothing in her life so far suggests that tenderness is available.

Rendered in a spare and poetic style and marked by a nuanced grasp of relationships and the vagaries of desire, the stories in A Wild, Cold State offer a familiar and resonant portrayal of the complexities of everyday life and the fundamental human need for connection.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Monroe's disappointing second fiction offering (after The Source of Trouble, which won a Flannery O'Connor Award ) dwells uncomfortably between short-story collection and novel, featuring eight first-person tales that share several characters, most notably Louisa, who works at a newspaper. The most fully realized figure in this multifaceted look at life in northern Wisconsin, Louisa narrates three of the eight stories-one as a girl, one as a college student and the third as a married adult. She's also a key figure in tales told by others. ``The Plow Got Through, Too Bad,'' narrated by her jilted lover, Peter, details Louisa's bookishness among her blue-collar peers and her on-again, off-again romance with a drug-dealing boyfriend; meanwhile, ``Plumb and Solid'' is related by Louisa's longtime acquaintance Zoe, who's married and pregnant with her fourth child but is in love with Louisa's brother. Monroe ably outlines her indecisive characters' overlapping relationships, but her monotone narrative voice barely distinguishes one speaker from another. Ultimately, there's too much exposition here, and with slack plot lines, scant payoff-excepting only ``Plumb and Solid,'' the collection's uncharacteristically optimistic and eventful closer. (Feb.)
Library Journal
These short stories, interwoven with a common cast of characters and set against the backdrop of west central Wisconsin, trace the emotional maturation of several women from adolescence to "thirtysomething." From first loves to ex-husbands, universally weak-willed, imprudent men litter the pasts of these women like junked cars beneath a veneer of Wisconsin snow. Though seeking fulfillment in their lives and loves, the women settle for what is easily available rather than attainable. Each subsequent disappointment compels their hearts to acquire a "wild, cold state." This collection takes a well-deserved place alongside the author's Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction winner, The Source for Trouble: Stories (Univ. of Georgia Pr., 1990). Recommended for academic and large public libraries.-Robert Jordan, Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684815114
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
02/15/1996
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
0.62(w) x 5.00(h) x 8.00(d)

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