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Working Men

Overview

Working Men features fourteen stories in as many different voices: of men and women, young and old, blue collar and middle class, salesmen and craftsmen, vets and draft dodgers. They are the voices of Native Americans, New England Yankees, southern gentlewomen, by turns serious and comic, gay and straight, playful and sad. Masterfully spun and compellingly crafted, these stories comprise a diverse gallery of characters, written with an almost magical ability to bring each one ...
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Overview

Working Men features fourteen stories in as many different voices: of men and women, young and old, blue collar and middle class, salesmen and craftsmen, vets and draft dodgers. They are the voices of Native Americans, New England Yankees, southern gentlewomen, by turns serious and comic, gay and straight, playful and sad. Masterfully spun and compellingly crafted, these stories comprise a diverse gallery of characters, written with an almost magical ability to bring each one achingly, vividly, truthfully to life.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Dorris A Yellow Raft in Blue Water offers 14 carefully etched portraits of just plain American folk puzzling through their roles as parents, children, husbands, wives, neighbors, friends and, as the title says, working men and women. Not macabre, sensational or faddish, his stories are propelled by the persistent, half-spoken tension between the characters' everyday existence and their greater aspirations. In commonplace surroundings--a yard sale, a front room, a roadside Sheraton--Dorris's people meet with unexpected and often unwelcome epiphanies that jar their lives into perplexing clarity. Even the most secure ties to family and home begin to unravel when protagonists face themselves or when they feel a call to wander to that peculiarly American destination--no place in particular. Dorris has an uncanny ear for the ways people derive self-definition and consolation from the routines of labor and social convention--consider the simple attestation of the narrator of ``The Benchmark,'' reflecting on the empty years after his son's drowning in the pond he built with his own hands: ``every hour occupied, and I did quality work.'' No journeyman himself, Dorris displays his craftsmanship in each edgy, understated tale of this first-rate collection. 50,000 first printing; author tour. Oct.
Library Journal
As one expects, the skillfully dramatized first-person narrators in this collection include several working men, but Dorris A Yellow Raft in Blue Water , LJ 5/1/87; and, with Louise Erdrich, The Crown of Columbus , LJ 3/15/91 is equally adept at speaking in the voice of a grieving mother, a girl who receives two marriage proposals, or an itinerant elephant thief. Some of the best stories ring with the varied melodies of love--young and old, straight and gay, marital and extramarital--or allow us to hear the lingering resonance of death. ``Groom-Service,'' for example, is a comic account of an arranged marriage in a matriarchal society. In ``The Benchmark,'' an aging surveyor contemplates those things that remain forever true in his craft and in life; through his work building small dams, he also constructs a bulwark against grief. Whether set in an Alaskan fishing village, a rural Indiana cemetery, or an army PX in Vietnam, Dorris's remarkably varied stories are uniformly excellent. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/93.-- Albert E. Wilhelm, Tennessee Technological Univ., Cookeville
School Library Journal
YA-Students familiar with his nonfiction title, The Broken Cord HarperCollins, 1989 and his novel, A Yellow Raft in Blue Water Holt, 1987, will find that Dorris continues to tell a good story. Although the selections here aren't exclusively about men or about working, they should appeal especially to male readers. There are the deft details and nuances of relationships that ring true to life. The settings vary from the Northeast, to the South, to the Northwest, and often the themes and plots hinge on the unexpected significance of a chance encounter or event. Enjoyable, quality short fiction.-Ruth Melvin, Lee High School, Springfield, VA
From the Publisher
"Stunning in its shorthand poetry. . .Admirable not just for its mastery and variety, but for Michael Dorris's faith in the heroism and importance of ordinary American life." —Los Angeles Times

"Skillful and subtle storytelling, roving imagination, and embracing humanism. . .[from] one of the more exciting and gifted American short story writers." —The New York Times Book Review

"His vision is extraordinary. . .contains stories as good as we are likely to find by anyone writing today."—The Washington Post

"Exhilarating. . .He has added a new benchmark to the genre." —Philadelphia Inquirer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446670197
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/20/2008
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Dorris’s adult fiction includes the bestselling A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, The Cloud Chamber, and The Crown of Columbus, co-authored with Louise Erdrich. Among his nonfiction work are The Broken Cord, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Paper Trail, a collection of essays.

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Table of Contents

The Benchmark 1
Earnest Money 16
Qiana 40
Name Games 66
Groom Service 75
Anything 99
The Vase 120
Me and the Girls 135
Jeopardy 142
The Dark Snake 170
Oui 188
Layaway 215
Shining Agate 230
Decoration Day 259
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