Night Sounds and Other Stories

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9780802313379: Night Sounds and Other Stories

A woman recalls the freedom and power of childhood games; a surprise anniversary party goes awry when the husband is hospitalized and the fault lines and strengths of a family are laid bare; a teacher rediscovers her calling amidst unthinkable tragedy; a lonely woman recognizes her responsibility to her sister's troubled life-in this collection of stories the prose and passion of life are brought together in ways that show both the complexity and the simplicity of living. Told against a Midwest background, they focus mainly on women's experiences, yet nonetheless reflect universal conditions. This is what makes Karen Gettert Shoemaker's style so affecting and her stories so appealing. These stories show the importance of knowing the preciousness of this life, whatever form it takes. These are simple stories, told with a grace and elegance that belies their joyful art and craft.

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About the Author:

Karen Gettert Shoemaker’s fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous literary journals, trade magazines, anthologies, and newspapers. A native of Nebraska, she holds a Master’s Degree and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has received the Vreeland Award for Fiction from UN-L and a Nebraska Press Association Award. She taught writing and literature classes at UN-L for nine years and currently conducts writing workshops with students from kindergarten to adult. She and her husband have two children. This is her first book.

From Publishers Weekly:

The 16 stories in this debut collection offer a comprehensive look at pivotal events in the lives of women and girls in the rural Midwest. Shoemaker is at her best writing from the perspective of a child or an adolescent, particularly in "Playing Horses," a story in which a young girl filters the difficult experiences of her youth through her love of horses, and in "Dyanna's Face Reflected in Glass," in which an adolescent girl's jealousy of her best friend backfires when she gets raped by the friend's fianc‚. The title tale offers a more poignant exploration of childhood issues, as a young girl struggles to talk her father into letting her go on a fishing trip with her older brothers. The stories with adult protagonists aren't quite as consistent, but there are still some fine moments, especially in "Crossings," in which a mother and daughter retreat to a lakeside cottage to face death together. Shoemaker's chief asset as a writer is her talent for observation and nuance, which she puts to especially good use when kids have to observe and interpret adult behavior. Though her one male narrator, who writes about his wife's death in a random shooting in "Orphans," is hollow and unconvincing, the rest of her stories are quietly accomplished. If they sometimes feel mannered, they are also crafted with care and grace. This book establishes Shoemaker as a talented chronicler of rural life and domestic gestures, with an eye for what's funny in grief, and what's sad in humor.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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