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My People's Waltz

Phillips, Dale Ray

Verlag: W. W. Norton & Company, 1999
ISBN 10: 0393047156 / ISBN 13: 9780393047158
/ Gebraucht / Zustand: Fine / Hardcover
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Bibliografische Details

Titel: My People's Waltz

Verlag: W. W. Norton & Company

Erscheinungsdatum: 1999

Einband: Hardcover

Zustand: Fine

Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Dust Jacket Included

Auflage: 1st Edition


0393047156 Fine in Fine dust jacket. First edition. Quality, Value, Experience. Media Shipped in New Boxes. Buchnummer des Verkäufers BING8099810

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These award-winning stories introduce a heartbreaking and hilarious new voice in Southern American fiction.

"When I was thirty-five and freshly separated and still a stouthearted pilgrim to myself, I took a job on the Gulf Coast swindling people. I sold fake trailer lot deeds to investors with souls more crooked than my own." This is the voice of Richard, the winning and irrepressible narrator of this novel in stories. Here, we follow Richard's chaotic childhood informed by his parents' passionate and rocky marriage, his mother's nervous breakdowns, his traveling salesman father's erratic attempts to earn his mother's love again, and their eventual divorce, through Richard's own trials with the women in his life.

Richard is like a traveler or pilgrim, moving from Haw River, North Carolina, to Arkansas to the Texas Gulf Coast and finally back to North Carolina again, as he and his people ? they drink hard, dance in their kitchens, lie and cheat ? struggle with their love and wrestle with their often inharmonious natures. In the end the narrator struggles to straighten out some small piece of his heart's crooked essence. My People's Waltz sadly celebrates the decisions we make to get on with the business of living.

  • The stories in this collection have appeared in the Atlantic, GQ, Ploughshares, Best American Short Stories, and New Stories from the South: The Year's Best.

  • Here's what Dale Ray Phillips has said of his own work: "Writing a story is a strange act of discovery; generally, I find that what I have uncovered is nothing more than what I have always known. Also ? and I'm embarrassed to admit this ? I love to lie, and fiction offers an acceptable channel for this compulsion."

Rezension: At first glance, Dale Ray Phillips appears to be cut from the classic Southern storyteller's cloth. That is, he's got a fine colloquial style, an assortment of Dixie-fried settings scattered throughout North Carolina, Arkansas, and Texas, and the sort of heightened, occasionally grotesque approach to character that seems to flourish below the Mason-Dixon line. But Phillips is much too talented a writer to pigeonhole. And My People's Waltz, which is billed as a collection of linked stories, is an extraordinary debut.

We first meet Richard, the narrator, at age 8. In the wake of his mother's mental illness--which has caused her abrupt disappearance into a sanatorium--the miserable child has fallen into a state of muteness. "Not talking don't make you special," one young relative cautions him. Happily for the reader, though, Richard's silence leaves him no less observant:

My grandfather kept his floozy in a silver Airstream above the bend in the river where the dead crossed over. He had finagled Miss Minnie a job as lifetime caretaker of a little patch of no-man's-land and a cemetery just across the Haw River. Whenever a black tenant farmer died, we watched from the trailer's picture window as a slipshod barge fashioned of dye-barrel pontoons and salvaged lumber ferried the coffin and mourners across the river to the grave.
By the end of "Why I'm Talking," Richard regains his powers of speech. Yet his other wounds--the kind inflicted by the spectator sport of family life--are slower to heal. He grows up, comes to terms with his parents, and has his own trip through the wringer of love and marriage ("On Friday, Lisa points out that I've been drunk since signing the divorce papers"). What never fails him, or the reader, is the voice that Dale Ray Phillips has honed: eloquent, funny, and invariably forgiving. --William Davies

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