Darrell Spencer Our Secret's Out: Stories

ISBN 13: 9780826209276

Our Secret's Out: Stories

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9780826209276: Our Secret's Out: Stories

"I thought I'd learned what I was put here on earth to learn," says the narrator of "Nothing Sad, Once You Look at It," "but if I had, I'd have understood I could live to be ninety and someone would come down the pike and pull the rug out from under me."  In Our Secret's Out, Darrell Spencer will introduce you to a marvelous assortment of quirky characters as they face threats to their safety or sanity and endure life's outrageous surprises.

From Las Vegas casinos to the boomtowns of Utah and Nevada, these stories tell about lust, about living together, about the perils of everyday life.  A convenience store clerk confronts a deranged customer and a far more frightening girlfriend in "Let Me Tell You What Ward DiPino Tells Me at Work."  In the fast-paced, powerful "Union Business," union boss Dick Handy  teaches his son what women really want, and a son learns a profound lesson on his own:  even fathers lie.

A young golf whiz winds up working at Juvenile Hall after failing to con his wealthy Uncle Beaner into funding his preparation for the pro circuit in "Song and Dance."  A man and his dog-both wearing jockey shorts-turn the tables on the trick-or-treaters in the hilarious "Halloween."  A religious zealot's gift of eleven hundred dollars to a complete stranger reveals the perplexity of the world and an opportunity for personal renewal in "The Glue That Binds Us."

Although they live on the edge of loneliness-sometimes on the edge of terror-Spencer's characters barrel ahead, making the best of every situation.  With relentlessly keen observation and energetic storytelling, Spencer demonstrates the humor and never-ending richness of contemporary life.

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About the Author:

Darrell Spencer, whose stories have appeared in literary journals such as Epoch, Prairie Schooner, and High Plains Literary Review, is the author of A Woman Packing a Pistol.  He lives in Orem, Utah and teaches creative writing.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Spencer (A Woman Packing a Pistol, 1987--not reviewed) cops a high-flying attitude in the 12 stories collected here--all about various odd ducks or blue-collar types, most of whom live in Las Vegas, Utah, and Nevada. In ``Song and Dance,'' a young golfer hits balls ``into the mesquite and sagebrush'' but dreams of turning pro with the financial help of rich Uncle Beaner; Beaner considers the pro circuit a ``floor show,'' however, and instead gets the narrator a job at Juvenile Hall. Spencer's riffs are jazzy all the way through, but, unfortunately, the voice never deepens. The same is true for many pieces here--``Let Me Tell You What Ward DiPino Tells Me at Work,'' for example, is told by a convenience-store clerk who has to deal with the crazy customer of the title and with a near- lunatic girlfriend: ``DiPino's footwork is skip-rope rococo.'' The author braids alliteration and syntax to keep our attention, but the smart-alecky voice wears thin finally--as in ``Halloween,'' a present-tense tale in which a man (``I may be losing it. I may be nuts'') greets trick-or-treaters in his underwear and reaches a violent epiphany in a style that feels mannered. Other stories (``Nothing Sad, Once You Look at It,'' ``As Long as Lust Is Short'') explore blue-collar territory, though again the voice after a certain point becomes cloying. Spencer's a talented writer who can snap his fingers and go, but here there are too many forced epiphanies--as though stories try to claim territory that's been looked at and passed over but not explored. -- Copyright 1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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