In this, his third collection of stories, Lester Goran moves us again through the times and places indelibly stamped with his wit and insight about people and events lost to history. Outlaws of the Purple Cow centers around the domains of Irish-American men and women in Pittsburgh. Goran creates once more his world of poignant and magical times and places within the mundane affairs of ordinary men and women. Goran’s evocative settings and narratives range form the supernatural to the humorous, from bawdy to richly detailed realism.
Goran, with his mastery of language and images, chronicles in stories the unheralded laughters and sorrows of Americans seldom noted in fiction.
Goran creates once more his world of poignant and magical times and places within the mundane affairs of ordinary men and women. Goran’s evocative settings and narratives range from the supernatural to the humorous, from bawdy to richly detailed realism: the bewildering ceremony enacted on a suburban lawn on Good Friday; an inventory of the loves of a lifetime compiled on scraps of paper and matchbook covers; the young man home on leave from the army who encounters a woman whose entire life is reflected in the wires holding together her threadbare Christmas tree; and the young man on the first day of his first job who delivers roses to a house where the homeowner had died since ordering the flowers. Goran, with his mastery of language and images, chronicles in stories the unheralded laughter’s and sorrows of Americans seldom noted in fiction.
|Publisher:||Kent State University Press|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||682 KB|
About the Author
Lester Goran is a professor of English at the University of Miami. His other publications include Tales from the Irish Club: A Collection of Short Stories (Kent State University Press, 1995), The Bright Streets of Surfside: The Memoir of a Friendship with Isaac Bashevis Singer (Kent State University Press, 1994), She Love Me Once and Other Stories (Kent State University Press, 1997), and nine novels, including Mrs. Beautiful, The Demon in the Sun Parlor, and The Keeper of Secrets.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Review: Outlaws of the Purple CowI guess the most important thing to say straight away is that the book was a pleasure to read, if not always easy or automatic the way a popular paperback might be ¿though popular novels are rarely this rewarding). I have a feeling many of these stories would read even better a second time. One thing I can say about the book though is that it isn't the nicest on outsiders. Many of the stories are told as if to an insider. In some cases the references to the Irish Club are slight. Since this is the third in a series of short stories as well (of which I have not read the first two), the author may expect me to have a little knowledge of the setting and the place that draws the characters together--The Irish Club of coure, but also the streets of Pittsburgh and the housing project near Pitt University where many of the characters grew up. The one review I read of the book online called the stories "uneven." I will admit that there were some I liked more than others. There were two or three stories that ranked up there with some of the best I've ever read. That being said, I wouldn't call the book uneven. In the end, I would call the book remarkably consistent. The stories were sentimental, frequently meditated on lost opportunies, the passage of time, and frequently had subtexts and sidetexts that dwelled on storytelling--truth, lies, stories, and living. I suppose the word nostalgia should come up. I suppose the nostalgia idea has to do with the fact that the book was published in 1999, but most of the stories occur in the 1950, the latest in the 1960s moving on into the 1970s. Thus, the landscape is one that many may not really remember or evenly vagueling know about, yet one gets the feeling that it is both immediate and well known to the author--even immediate in the way memories tend to linger in the present. Some times the prose is sparse, other times garrulous. Often one gets the sense that prose is colloquial. One of the distinct features of Goran's stories is that they rarely have a direct climatic action. In many of the stories the climax is an event that never happened, an emotion that wears on into the midnight hours, or a feeling that something is just beyond the horizon. That's not to say that things don't occur in the story. They do, but even when there is a moment that pulls the story together that moment sometimes occurs like an afterthought. The introduction gives us a little taste of what the act of short story writing is supposed to be. Reaching to achieve the highest degree your art has to offer. To strike. to be relentless, to try to achieve the maginifient, to dare to write something very personal. And who reads short story collections anyway? Who wants to delve into the personal fancy of the artist/ writer. Especially, when his special word dance is supposed to be for us, not for him. I get a feeling the more I write and read short stories that there is something extremely personal in a short story. That there are things selfish and diabolical that go into their making. I suppose writers are secretly at their best when writing short stories because they feel freer to risk more. For this reason, I feel there is really nothing odd or "uneven" about a short story collection feeling like an assortment of random castabouts. This may be the last Lester Goran short story collection ever written. How's that for sentimental?