Nocturnal America (Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction)

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9780803227774: Nocturnal America (Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction)

Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, this collection of tales returns readers to the American Northwest so deftly observed and powerfully evoked in John Keeble’s previous works. Nocturnal America occupies a terrain at once familiar and strange, where homecoming and dislocation can coincide, and families can break apart or hone themselves on the hard edges of daily life. In these stories, Keeble populates what journalist Joel Garreau once called the “Empty Quarter” of North America with complex humanity. Life ranges vibrantly through these airy spaces, at times finding itself thrown up against the shifty terrors of political and cultural change.

Keeble’s stories hinge on love—its difficulty, its loss and pangs, but also its discovery of good fortune. As his characters come and go, unexpectedly converging, vanishing, or reappearing, their stories reach beyond the ordinariness of life.

 

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About the Author:

John Keeble is professor emeritus at Eastern Washington University’s Inland Northwest Center for Writers. He is the author of Out of the Channel: The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Prince William Sound and five novels, including The Shadows of Owls, Broken Ground, and Yellowfish. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the Village Voice, American Short Fiction, Outside, and Best American Short Stories. Keeble is also the writer for the prize-winning PBS documentary on the life of Raymond Carver, To Write and Keep Kind. He has held a Guggenheim Fellowship and received a Washington State Governor’s Award.

From Publishers Weekly:

Keeble (Yellowfish; Broken Ground), a veteran writer of the modern West, links the nine stories in this Prairie Schooner Book Prize–winning collection through recurring characters; names appear in one story's background and become central to the next. The first story, "The Chasm," introduces Jim and Diane Blood, who are trying to build a ranch house during a tough eastern Washington winter. In their attempts to forge relationships with their new neighbors, acclimate to the land and maintain their marriage, they set the stage for many of the book's continuing themes. "Chickens" visits Jim's early life in a small Saskatchewan town, where he witnesses the townspeople's cruel treatment of a German immigrant. The Bloods reappear again in "Freeing the Apes," the unsettling novella that ends the book. Other stories include "Zeta's House," a short but intense picture of a house in mourning, and "I Could Love You (if I Wanted)," which follows an unemployed single mother as she struggles to raise her two daughters while her mother grows increasingly ill. Like the setting, this book is rich and rewarding, but doesn't give itself over easily. (Nov.)
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