Living with Snakes

Living with Snakes

by Daniel Curley


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In Daniel Curley's stories, passionate rage and cool, clear hatred alter the terms of even the most basic human relationships, etching odd patterns on the surface of the natural world—a man applies the methods of Mata-Hari to the task of keeping track of his ex-wife; the victim of a pickpocket plots psychological revenge on the criminal population of a Mexico City bus line; a spurned lover summons all his strength and courage to liberate a roomful of snakes held captive by his rival.

For the most part, the figures in the landscape of these stories are men and women performing the rituals that lead to and away from marriage. In "The First Baseman," a man in the process of getting a divorce falls in love with a player on a woman's softball team, but their conversation never goes far beyond the subject of her batting average. In "Trinity," an estranged couple brought together again by the death of their daughter finds that they cannot recreate either their love or their child. And in "Wild Geese," a man's dream about his childhood, when flocks of geese patterned the sky, is interrupted and finally shot-through by fevered images of a tedious dinner party.

Nature exists as a refuge in these stories, but it is a refuge mostly to be found in the shadow of the fear of death; in the recesses of memory; beyond the bars that isolate zoo animals from an unruly world. Demonically honest and sometimes violently funny, Living with Snakes tells of a world where love is at best a touch-and-go sort of thing, where sometimes men and women are bound together not so much by affection as by mutual loss, mutual pain.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780820344416
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Publication date: 03/01/2013
Series: Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction Series , #96
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

DANIEL CURLEY (1918-1988) was one of the editors of Accent and founded and edited its offspring Ascent from 1974 until his death in 1988. In addition to three novels and several collections of short stories, he wrote criticism, poetry, plays, and three books for children. A posthumous collection, The Curandero, was published in 1991.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“The quick, assured prose, the quirky characters, and the incidents depicted in the stories make it clear Curley is an experienced writer.”—Hollins Critic

“Curley writes with wit and genuine pathos.”—New York Times Book Review

“A truly outstanding talent.”—Baltimore Sun

“There are twelve stories within this collection; ten are utter gems, glistening jewels, and two are pretty darned good. . . . All the stories in Curley’s collection are grotesque and very funny and explore what it is that motivates men and women to both love and hate each other.”—Short Story Review

Customer Reviews