Gerald Duff Fire Ants and Other Stories

ISBN 13: 9781588382085

Fire Ants and Other Stories

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9781588382085: Fire Ants and Other Stories

Publisher’s Weekly hailed the “wit and subtlety” in Gerald Duff’s fiction as “simply satisfying as a tall cold one on a hot Gulf Coast afternoon,” and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazetter said “Gerald Duff’s dialogue is among the best being written, and his sense of the absurd is Portis-like.” This new collection of short stories by the author of Coasters (2001) features the Ploughshares Cohen Prize-winning story “Fire Ants.”

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About the Author:

Gerald Duff is a native of the Texas Gulf Coast, and has taught literature and writing at Vanderbilt University, Kenyon College, and Johns Hopkins University. The title story of Fire Ants won the Cohen Prize from Ploughshares Magazine, was cited in Best American Short Stories, and republished in The Editors’ Choice: New American Stories. His novels have been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Prize, an Edgar Allan Poe Award, an International eBook Award, and a Texas Institute of Letters Award. He has published two collections of poetry, A Ceremony of Light and Calling Collect, and six novels, including Indian Giver, That’s All Right, Mama: The Unauthorized Life of Elvis’s Twin, Memphis Ribs, and Coasters and Fire Ants from NewSouth Books.

Review:

"These stories are richly observed, keen-witted and tellingly sympathetic to a wide range of characters, from a Texas whorehouse customer getting stabbed in the temple to a young woman imagined in the act of imagining herself someone else." ―Roy Blount, Jr.
"Gerald Duff's latest collection, Fire Ants, is the work of a master storyteller. Working in a great tradition from Twain to Faulkner and beyond, Duff crumples a reader with laughter, even as we know we are glimpsing deep truths about these strange human creatures. There is joy in this, and wisdom too, and the kind of humility that is hard won. I admire Gerald Duff's achievement, and I am grateful for it." ―David Lynn, Editor, The Kenyon Review
"Gerald Duff’s great characters are all astonishing storytellers, with true and compelling voices that will ring in my head forever. This book is an American classic." ―Lee Smith
"Duff’s Fire Ants compares to the work of the old masters because the material of it is the material of life: ordinary speech, ordinary activity, recognizable to all, and yet in Duff’s hands these become eternal art. The dialogue is the surest proof of Duff’s mastery." ―Jeff Putnam, author of By the Wayside, Bottoms Up and Sellout
"Gerald Duff writes of what perhaps ought to be called “the New South,” a part of Texas that isn’t all that different from the Old South of William Faulkner or the stultifying traditions that permeate the works of Flannery O’Connor or the knowing comedy of the great works of Eudora Welty. That’s quite a lot for any writer to aspire to, but Duff does so with great ease and absolute assurance. ... From one story to the next, Fire Ants gets better and better as Gerald Duff quietly honors his Southern literary forebears." ―Steve Whitton, The Anniston Star
"“Fire Ants and Other Stories” presents 15 shorts by Gerald Duff, a native Texan and an accomplished poet and novelist whose work has been much lauded. The pieces in this collection have previously appeared in quality literary journals like Ploughshares, Kenyon Review and Missouri Review. Among the selections is “Maryland, My Maryland,” a Civil War story narrated by a Confederate soldier. As a historian, I am always interested to see how contemporary fiction writers treat 19th-century subjects. The difficulties are many and profound, not the least of them convincingly inhabiting a Victorian sensibility from the confines of this unbuttoned age. ... I found the piece absorbing, even riveting, and peppered with memorable descriptions." ―John Sledge, Mobile Press-Register
"As the author of six novels, Duff has waited a long time to gather his stories in book form. Both fun and funny, but most of all humane, Fire Ants is a template for story writers seeking to balance range with unity. No one entry quite resembles another, and yet together they feel a piece of a world gone slightly askew." ―Kirk Curnutt, author of Baby, Let’s Make a Baby, Plus Ten More Stories and the novel Breathing Out the Ghost
"Calling a short story writer a "Southern writer" inevitably conjures up images of giants like Flannery O'Connor and Eudora Welty. While Gerald Duff hasn't reached that eminence, his collection Fire Ants is a fine addition to the genre. Readers from North and South alike will find much to engage them in this stimulating collection." ―Harvey Freedenburg, BookPage
"To a Southerner, these off-the-beaten-path folks are just that ― folks. They may be different from run-of-the-mill, but you get along with them because they're members of your community and that's just what you do. Duff examines these sorts of people in his most-recent work, the short-story collection Fire Ants." ―Shawn Ryan, Anniston Star
"Gerald writes with such passion about his native land–the Texas Gulf Coast–along with other cities such as Memphis and Baltimore. His stories are set in time periods ranging from distant past to present. These may be the only fire ants you’ll ever love." ―Southern Living
"What’s particularly impressive about the collection is its wide range of voices and settings, and Duff’s ability to infuse wry humor into awkward moments, or into entire stories." ―Ploughshares
"No wonder that Duff (Phi Kappa Phi inductee at McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill.) won the Cohen Prize from Ploughshares magazine for the title story and was named a finalist for the Jesse Jones Award for the Best Book of Fiction published in 2007" ―Phi Kappa Phi Forum
"Gerald Duff’s collection of short stories are sometimes poignant, sometimes funny and sometimes both. Duff has a talent for description, and his stories are rich with images as if Duff were painting on canvas with words." ―Shoals Woman

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