Book by Jenkins, Greg
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From a kangaroo hunt in Australia's outback to a rat-fishing contest in a sordid alley near Baltimore, Jenkins's debut story collection summons a variety of settings and activities. If a theme unites the 16 entries (some previously published in literary journals), it's that humans tend to get themselves in trouble--and then do a poor job of extricating themselves. In "The Big Cheese," a man whose claim to fame involves catching prize rats soon finds himself hooked to a vicious foe. In "The Bet," a foreman at a rundown factory enters a foolish wager with one of his workers--then must face the consequences of his bargain. In that story and others, Jenkins displays the ability to coin a memorable description: "Nearly seven feet tall, Winston must've weighed in at 350, an unfair portion of it muscle." Jenkins also indulges in some whimsy: "A Portrait of the Artist at Warner Bros.," which places James Joyce among the heathens of Hollywood, spoofs both the enigmatic artist and the cutthroat culture of moviemaking. The title story finds legendary ballplayers and drinkers Mickey Mantle and Billy Martin at a seedy bar, where a local has-been insists on a showdown between the great Mick and himself. Jenkins tends toward abrupt endings for his stories, a gambit that sometimes proves jarring. When they succeed, though, these tales create loopy, tragicomic worlds in which the voices of the workaday protagonists give heft and urgency to gritty conflicts.
Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Creative Arts Book Company, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: Used: Good. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0887391834