The Imposter: Stories About Netta and Stanley

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9780060922351: The Imposter: Stories About Netta and Stanley
From Kirkus Reviews:

Earthy, offbeat stories of the rural Midwest and culturally impoverished South involving Netta and Stanley--unlikely second cousins and partners in crime--by the author of The Woman Who Was Not All There (1988). An oddball cast of characters connected to the Beaulieu family intersect thematically as backwater Americans with shady pasts, shaky identities, and murky relationships. In ``Joyriding,'' Netta and Stanley pull off a pointless but good-natured limousine heist that leads Stanley to wonder whether there's one fatal flaw in a person's past--''like a pearl at the center of his crime.'' Each subsequent story explores aspects of the cousins' history--aspects that set the stage for their delinquent ways. Netta grows up insolent and brash, influenced by her ugly but strong-minded Grandmother Viola and sad-sack mother Betty, who clings to a succession of impaired men sporting toupees, goiters, and tiny hands like raccoon paws. In ``Piggly Wiggly,'' Netta succumbs to a tenacious first love with an odorous pig-farmer who makes the blood run through her ``like a fast car.'' Most memorable, however, is Stanley--jostled and bounced from one poor relation to the next, so needy for love that he walks off in a haze with a complete stranger at the I.Q. Zoo in ``Hot Springs.'' Except for sporadic bursts of connectedness with Netta, whom he admires for her sass; Grandmother Arthurine, who illegally drives a salmon-pink Cadillac; and two winsome third-graders, Stanley muddles through a mostly blurred existence, speaking with as many accents as the towns in which he's lived, never able to get past the ``y'' in spelling his name, inclined toward ``worshipful imitation'' of any father figure he meets. An honest, unpretentious first collection, fine and distinctive in its regional flavor, poignant moments, and full- bodied humor. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Sharp ( The Woman Who Was Not All There ) is a writer with an acute ear for resonant dialogue and what it reveals about motivation and behavior. In this collection of related stories, she spins several interwoven yarns about Stanley and Netta, second cousins related through the Beaulieu family. In the introductory story, "Joyriding," set in 1978, they are driving a stolen limousine on Wall Street. The eight stories that follow focus on the cousins' individual lives; three deal with Netta and five with Stanley. The tales range back in time through the protagonists' adolescences and early childhoods in the 1960s, with settings in rural Wisconsin, Little Rock, San Diego and New Orleans. As their personal histories unfold, the family's romance with crime and deception is revealed in multifaceted and frequently hilarious detail. Each character, from Netta's eccentric pig-breeder lover ("Piggly Wiggly") to Netta's mother's series of peculiar boyfriends ("The Imposter," among others), is as secretive and cunning as the last. In "The Golden Car," Stanley's estranged father reappears to try to steal him away in a big car he doesn't really own. Almost every character is deceiving others or himself; some are actually leading double lives. Brimming with sometimes weird and evocative details, these intriguing tales evoke a unique world populated by extraordinary and unforgettably defined characters.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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