Veneer: Stories

Steve Yarbrough

Published by University of Missouri Press, 1998
ISBN 10: 0826211852 / ISBN 13: 9780826211859
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Synopsis:

Acclaimed short story writer Steve Yarbrough, whose works have been included in the Pushcart Prize anthology and The Best American Mystery Stories 1998, once again demonstrates his gift for vividly rendered characters and evocative themes in his latest collection of fiction.

Veneer presents a variety of characters from cultural backgrounds and settings that range from California to Mississippi to Eastern Europe. Yarbrough's sensitive portrayals of loss and longing are individual and unsettling; a disaffected college football coach, a movie star with a "substance problem," and a small-town girl coming to grips with the murder of her mother are just a few examples of the turbulent lives he portrays. In every instance, each character is "constantly searching for some way to bridge the gap, so small and yet so vast, between a right move and a wrong one."

A poignant theme running through this collection is the conflict between appearance and reality. Yarbrough presents the reader with deep narrative layers, juxtaposing the gritty present with nostalgic recollections of an idealized past or hopeful projections into a rosy future. "Veneer," the title piece, beautifully reveals the depth of this conflict. On the surface, the narrator, a married man whose family is away on vacation, enjoys a dinner with a woman who has been a longtime friend. Beneath that "veneer," however, lies a more complex, perhaps troubling, relationship between the two friends, a relationship only partially obscured by the comic recounting of a childhood Independence Day.

Yarbrough is at his best when he offers us brief glimpses into his characters' minds and imaginations, brilliantly exposing subtle vulnerabilities as cracks in the veneer. "Bohemia" follows the travels of two young lovers as they explore Europe. The woman fears that her lover will abandon her, and when she wakes to find him gone one evening, she believes her fear is confirmed. Yet his return does not alleviate her insecurity. The reality of her lover's presence and her continued anxiety emphasize the many layers that constitute the woman's world.

Diverse in locale, character, and content, the stories in Veneer present rare views into the rifts between husband and wife, parent and child, one sibling and another. Crafting these compelling, deceptively simple stories is a writer whose "true subject is the human heart."

About the Author:

Steve Yarbrough is Professor of English at California State University, Fresno. He is the author of the short story collection Mississippi History and the novel The Oxygen Man.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Veneer: Stories
Publisher: University of Missouri Press
Publication Date: 1998
Book Condition: Good

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Steve Yarbrough
Published by University of Missouri Press (1998)
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Steve Yarbrough
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Book Description University of Missouri Press, 1998. Book Condition: Very Good. Former Library book. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Bookseller Inventory # GRP74201023

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Published by University of Missouri Press, Columbia (1998)
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Book Description University of Missouri Press, Columbia, 1998. Softcover. Book Condition: Near Fine. First Edition; First Printing. Signed by Yarbrough on the title page. In this short story collection, whatever their current situations Yarbrough's characters originate, historically and emotionally, from Mississippi, specifically from poor, cotton-growing Sunflower County. ; Signed by Author. Bookseller Inventory # 3874

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