Nude in Tub: Stories of Quillifarkeag, Maine

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9781565122239: Nude in Tub: Stories of Quillifarkeag, Maine
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Here is G.K. Wuori, out of nowhere and wielding a deadly weapon: his vision of our America...it's the raw.

Wuori fiction is something entirely and wildly its own. Like Thomas Pynchon, Robert Coover, Mark Richard, Lewis Nordan, Wuori doesn't care to mollycoddle the reader. He's here, in this daring debut collection, to reflect what's on his mind: America's fascination with violence, with sex, with racism, with joyful immortality.

Set in the northernmost corner of Maine, in a town "usually omitted from cheap maps," Nude in Tub is about a young couple who make love on La-Z-Boys in the middle of a highway, about an old woman who finds a pine tree growing from her leg, about newlyweds who paint their whole house black and themselves white, and about several more stripped-down others, including, of course, a nude in tub.

Descendants of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburgers, Wuori's Quillifarkeagans are Americans at the millenium, good citizens whose reality has been tweaked, twitted, quirked, smirked and found to be grimly goofy. These people - each of them caught in their own startling moment of nakedness - all live by the same credo: If you're in trouble, we'll help. But we'll still laugh like hell.

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Review:

"WELCOME OR NOT, IT'S UP TO YOU," reads a sign on the outskirts of Quillifarkeag, Maine. Usually left off cheap maps, but not necessarily found on the expensive ones either, remote little Quilli lies "tucked like a bug between the buttocks of Quebec on one side and New Brunswick on the other." Winters are long in Quilli, and the township is tolerant of what its citizens do to keep themselves amused. "Just a young married couple," is what Quilli says when Fence and Alice paint their house--and its windows--pitch black, in a story called "Condoms." "Just a young married couple," even when their first pet of choice turns out to be a "frozen chicken--still feathered, eyes cloudy enough to make it look a little heartsick--tied to a rope on the porch just off the dooryard."

Quillifarkeag is not just a township, then, as G.K. Wuori writes in the foreword to this odd little book; it's a state of mind, "one marked by innocence and regret, by guile and sympathy." Wuori's off-kilter tales start out conventionally enough, but grow darker and more violent as the book progresses. A couple interrupts a holdup, then turn the tables on their torturers in "Revenge"; a woman finds a pine tree growing from her leg in "Glory"; novelist Stephen King is called in to witness the legacy of a factory massacre in "Parents." No one says or does the expected in Quillifarkeag, and Wuori writes prose to match; you can never quite predict where one of his sentences will end up. These stories show his characters in often unflattering light, yet they're never stripped of their dignity: it's the truth, not naked but nude. --Mary Park

About the Author:

G. K. Wuori grew up in De Kalb, Illinois where he has returned after living all over the U.S. and, most recently, in Presque Isle, Maine. He received his undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University and his Ph.D. in philosophy from Purdue. He has published stories in literary magazines, including The Gettysburg Review, Another Chicago Magazine, The Massachusetts Review, Five Points, and Literal Latte. He is a Pushcart Prize winner.

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