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Light Action in the Caribbeanby Barry Lopez
Synopses & Reviews
In 1986, Barry Lopez won the National Book Award for Arctic Dreams, his bestselling exploration of Northern Canada. His writing spans both fiction and nonfiction genres, and within the 13 stories that comprise Light Action in the Caribbean, Lopez continues to trace the boundaries of land and mind. In "Emory Bear Hands' Birds," prison inmates transcend their mental and physical captivity by relying on animal totems they didn't know they had. In "The Letters of Heaven," a young man entrusted with a stunning holy secret must choose between protecting it and revealing it as blasphemy. There's a university professor who offers a thirteen-line history of the United States, with twelve pages of footnotes and bibliography, and there's a man whose feelings about pity are altered by his encounter with a young deaf girl who remains resolute and "eerily still in her independence" despite the bleeding hole in her head. Lopez's characters and story lines trace their own frontiers, leaving indelible impressions with every turn of the page. Readers who follow his journey won't go unchanged by the experience. Malia, Powells.com
Moving from fable and historical fiction to contemporary realism, this book of stories from Barry Lopez is erotic and wise, full of irresistible characters doing things they shouldn't do for reasons that are mysterious and irreducible. In "The Letters of Heaven," a packet of recently discovered 17th-century Peruvian love letters presents a 20th-century man with the paralyzing choice of either protecting or exposing their stunning secret. When some young boys on the lookout for easy money get caught with a truckload of stolen horses, thievery quickly turns into redemption. For a group of convicts, a gathering of birds in the prison yard may be the key to transcendence, both figurative and literal. And, with the title story, Lopez enters a territory of unmitigated evil reminiscent of Conrad. Here are saints who shouldn't touch, but do; sinners who insist on the life of the spirit; a postcard paradise that turns into nightmare.
With Light Action in the Caribbean, Barry Lopez, whose fiction has been hailed as "haunting... mysterious" (Time) and "superb... exquisitely wrought" (San Francisco Chronicle), carries his central concerns place, compassion, memory, the quest of the traveler to exciting new frontiers, both geographic and emotional.
"From the author of the National Book Award-winning Arctic Dreams comes a terrific set of stories set variously in Peru, China, the Caribbean, California, and the American West; stories of men and women exploring their own innocence and desire, not without violence, solitude, banishment, and disillusion; or hope, defiance, and integrity. A highly recommended collection in which landscapes collide with emotions, morality, and politics. Hallmark Lopez, concluding with 'The Mappist,' bound to be recognized as an American classic." Reviewed by Andrew Witmer, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
"This is a collection of subtle and mysterious stories, maps of an animistic world where travelers move beyond the reality of the senses toward spiritual recognition. The reader cannot leave Lopez's fictional territory unchanged." Annie Proulx
"Barry Lopez's short stories are superb. Laconic, tough-minded, emotionally turbulent, and always intelligent, they are Pacific rim-shots, True West stories that connect China and Japan to Oregon and Utah, Li Po to Raymond Chandler, past to future." Russell Banks
From the author of the National Book Award-winning "Arctic Dreams" comes a masterful new collection of stories. Moving, tender, and demonstrating an extraordinary range, this major work of short fiction is by a writer at the top of his form.
About the Author
Barry Lopez is the author of seven previous works of fiction, including Field Notes, Winter Count, and a novella-length fable, Crow and Weasel, and six works of nonfiction, among them About This Life and Arctic Dreams. His work appears regularly in Harper's, The Paris Review, DoubleTake, and The Georgia Review. He is the recipient of a National Book Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and other honors. He lives in western Oregon.
Table of Contents
Remembering orchards — Stolen horses — Thomas Lowdermilk's generosity — In the Garden of the Lords of War — Emory Bear Hands' birds — In the great bend of the Souris River — The deaf girl — Ruben Mendoza Vega, Suzuki professor of early Caribbean history, Universtiy of Florida at Gainesville, offers a history of the United States based on personal experience — The letters of heaven — Mornings in Quarain — The construction of the Rachel — Light action in the Caribbean — The mappist.
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