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News from the Volcano is a collection of five poignant stories about wanderers and outsiders, people searching for an unnamed something that is missing from their lives. Set in the Southwest, a landscape of vivid contrasts and powerful forces, the stories unravel the struggles of these who find themselves in extreme situations, looking and listening desperately for whatever might save them from self-destruction.
"Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn" introduces Rachel Lerner, a young girl growing up in a Jewish family from the East that, lured by dreams of success, has resettled in New Mexico near the end of World War II. The household is overshadowed by the mother's unhappiness in an isolated mountain town amid people she finds raw and by the father's mounting suspicions that his business associate is stealing from him. Rachel must weave a path for herself through the conflicting emotions of her parents while also recognizing and confronting the forces at play in the larger world.
In "Sloan's Daughter" the protagonist confronts the spiritual emptiness of his political aspirations as they are shaped by the corruption of the past. The rebellious young daughter forces Sloan to recognize the questionable history of his family's manipulative and reckless pursuit of personal gain. In the title story, Lupe is faced with a violent death, but refuses to acquiesce to the chain of violence surrounding that confrontation.
All of the characters are crafted with the remarkable realism readers have come to expect from Gladys Swan. The stories are gripping and their resolutions powerful. Taking the reader on tough journeys through rough country, both physically and psychologically, News from the Volcano is a masterful collection by an exceptional writer.
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Gladys Swan is the author of six books of fiction, including A Visit to Strangers.From Kirkus Reviews:
The five stories in Swan's fourth collection (Of Memory and Desire, 1989, etc.) stay with familiar yet satisfying material: hopelessly stifled lives adrift in the American Southwest.In "Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn," the Lerner family-father Nathan, mother Reba, and daughter Rachel-have moved from their home in Delaware to a mining town in New Mexico to manage a furniture store. The town is "high in the mountains . . . up for grabs by mud and dust," and the promise of happiness and prosperity ends almost immediately when Nathan discovers that one of the store's long-time employees, Max Becker, is stealing from the business. Owner Sam Goldman, however, won't fire Max unless Nathan can prove the charge. By the time he can, Rachel has grown from an acquiescent girl to an inquisitive young woman. From local hairdresser Suzie Lightfoot she learns not only the facts of life but the additional fact that there's more to the world than this miserable little town. Swan explores the desire to escape in other pieces as well. In "Sloan's Daughter," middle-aged banker Tom Sloan is trapped between his daughter's reckless life and his powerful father's reputation. "News from the Volcano" examines a single long night in the life of a waitress named Lupe, deposited by fate at a little cafe in the desert. "The Chasm"-the only disappointment here-chronicles the slow, hard lives of the region's cattle ranchers. Finally, in "Backtracking," wanderer Jason Hummer is forced home to Salida, Colorado, when his mother dies and leaves him her small house. Jason laments that "there is nothing so false or stupid as the idea of the second chance, the fresh start." Yet Swan keeps the men and women in her sensuous, bittersweet stories dreaming and reaching, in the very best traditions of American storytelling. -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description University of Missouri, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0826212964
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Book Description University of Missouri, 2000. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0826212964
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Book Description University of Missouri, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110826212964