At the Owl Woman Saloon: Stories

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9780684847566: At the Owl Woman Saloon: Stories
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Tess Gallagher is best known as a distinguished poet. She also collaborated on the film Short Cuts, based on the short stories of her late husband, Raymond Carver. But in this luminous collection of short stories -- her second -- she establishes herself as a fiction writer of the first order.

Set primarily in the Northwest, where the author was born and has lived for many years, these stories tell how people do more than cope with the hard turns and snares of their lives. We watch them take the unexpected next step as they face their dilemmas. Gallagher invents wholly original characters and renders them with lyrical intensity. As with the great short stories of Flannery O'Connor, Gallagher's prose animates the themes of love, human pain, and healing.

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About the Author:

Tess Gallagher is a renowned poet, short-story writer, and essayist. Her short stories have appeared in Story, Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Glimmer Train, and the Northwest Review, among others. She was the recipient of a Lyndhurst Prize, and in 1998 received a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Whitman College, where she held the Edward F. Arnold Chair. She has taught more recently at the Stadler Poetry Center at Bucknell University. Her book of essays, Soul Barnacles: Ten More Years with Ray, will be published in the fall of 1999.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A solid, if sometimes conventional, second collection (after The Lover of Horses, 1986) by poet Gallagher. The 16 tales here are alive with intriguing characterizations, though several suffer from listless plots and excessive detail. Many of the pieces focus on the emotional repercussions of losing a loved one (Gallagher was married to Raymond Carver). In the amusing ``My Gun,'' a recent widow is forced to deal with hitherto unexpected elements in her husband's past. Her droll meditations on whether or not to buy a gun for protection are interwoven with her narrative of shocked discoveries. Another quirky tale on the nature of widowhood, ``Mr. Woodriff's Neckties,'' describes the mannerly relationship between Mr. Woodriff, a famous novelist dying of cancer, and his next-door neighbor, whose wife also has the disease. Told with sweetness and a pragmatic attitude toward life and death, the story revolves around the small acts of kindness between the two men (like when the neighbor knots a tie for Mr. Woodriff, who never learned how), deftly probing the nature of charity. ``Rain Flooding Your Campfire'' offers a clever play on narrative consistency when the narrator's version of events (the visit of recently widowed friend Norman) challenges Mr. G's story. She and Mr. G work together at the gas company, though Mr. G is actually a failed novelist, looking for material from wherever he can find it, so that Norman, who is blind, offers great grist for Mr. G`s mill. Outshining Mr. G`s quirkiness is ``The Poetry Baron'' (as he likes to think of himself)--a middle-aged English professor with Napoleonic delusions and the quintessential roving eye. Many of the stories are distinguished by a meditative, sometimes somber, humor. A worthwhile collection, then, with a few failed tales, focusing on the simple patterns and complex relationships of everyday life. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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9780684826936: At the Owl Woman Saloon

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ISBN 10:  0684826933 ISBN 13:  9780684826936
Publisher: Scribner, 1997
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