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The short stories in this collection range across cultures and settings from the Great Plains to California, from Los Angeles' Chinatown to the Central American jungle. In them, Sanora Babb vividly conveys a powerful sense of place. She gives us complex and memorable protagonists, often female, who struggle to control their fate. All are depicted with Babb's characteristic empathy for outsiders and the marginalized.
This empathy, the foundation of Babb's moral and social consciousness, arises from her life experiences: an impoverished and itinerant childhood in dryland Oklahoma Territory, Kansas and Colorado; a period of unemployment and homelessness in Los Angeles at the start of the Great Depression; her New Deal-ere work with labor organizers, migrant farm workers, and displaced persons; and her involvement with a vibrant artistic and literary community that included, in addition to her husband the cinematographer James Wong Howe, William Saroyan, Ralph Ellison, Ray Bradbury, and Carlos Bulosan.
In her art, as in her life, Babb was transgressive, defying, as Alan Wald writes in his introduction, "the constraining customs of her . . . country." Her fiction is "a gift to her readers, a gesture of solidarity across cultures expressing her sympathetic recognition of the slow and painful process of human self-emancipation."
All but one of the stories in this collection were previously published in literary journals and popular magazines as varied as Antioch Reviewand Saturday Evening Post,California Quarterlyand Yellow Silk. "The Santa Anna" and "The Wild Flower" have been widely anthologized. The title story "Cry of the Tinamou" first appeared in this collection.
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|Publisher:||Muse Ink Press|
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About the Author
Alan M. Wald, H. Chandler Davis Collegiate professor emeritus of English Literature and American Culture, University of Michigan and author of the trilogy: Exiles from a Future Time (2002), Trinity of Passion (2007) and American Night (2012).