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Original Essays | April 11, 2014

Paul Laudiero: IMG Shit Rough Draft



I was sitting in a British and Irish romantic drama class my last semester in college when the idea for Shit Rough Drafts hit me. I was working... Continue »
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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

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Waltzing the Cat

by

Waltzing the Cat Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Ever since the publication of Cowboys Are My Weakness, Pam Houston's fans have clamored for more from the woman with a penchant for the laconic men of the West. Now, in eleven linked fictions featuring a peripatetic photographer named Lucy O'Rourke, Houston serves up once more her charismatic blend of relationships and adventure. This is the story of one woman's struggle for balance in a world that keeps pitching and rolling under her feet. Dislocated geographically and spiritually, Lucy is prone to the wrong decisions at all the critical times; what's more, natural disasters just seem to find her: an accident on a rafting trip in Cataract Canyon, a grand cayman attack in the Amazon, a hurricane in the Gulf Stream-not to mention a few natural disasters in the form of men. A surprise encounter with Carlos Castenada convinces her that she isn't living the right life, and his cryptic message sends her back to her beloved Rocky Mountains. There, on a ranch, she takes comfort in animals, the jagged landscape of Colorado, and the sage advice of women friends; she even gives a man a try. Most important, for the first time she reconnects with parts of herself she didn't remember losing. "Pam Houston taps into our souls," one reader has said. "She could write my diary better than I can."

Review:

"This is a vigorous, often lyrical rendition of a young woman's quiet but intense search for herself. It's an old story, but Houston twists the telling by sending the fearless but terrified Lucy on an untraditional path, one that is typically masculine — a journey set against the dramatically rugged and unpredictable landscapes of rivers, canyons, mountains, furious oceans and even Manhattan." Paige Williams, Salon.com

Review:

"Waltzing the Cat is far from perfect, but Houston's vigorous voice and lively take on what it's like to be a woman both physically bold and hopelessly romantic are to be cherished nonetheless. After all, who says something's got to be perfect for you to love it?" Karen Karbo, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"As beautifully written as one would expect, shot through with Houston's irresistible blend of tough lyricism and wry humour." Times (London)

Review:

"Houston's stories are so full of useable wisdom that she makes it seem like that's the least we should expect from the books we buy....If you had fun laughing at the woman in Cowboys Are My Weakness who keeps entering the ring, falling in love again and again with the same man in different bodies, you are really going to enjoy the company of the woman who actually wins a few rounds." Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Book Review

Review:

"For the tomboy of your acquaintance, any woman who chafes against the constraints of this still-patriarchal society, Waltzing the Cat is the perfect choice." Carolyn See, Washington Post Book World

Review:

"This book reflects Houston's strength: clean, insightful, and down-to-earth storytelling that brings the wilderness of our world onto intimate footing." Laura Rose, USA Today

Review:

"Pam Houston's beautifully constructed sentences are peppered with observations that reveal us to ourselves in an unexpected, occasionally shocking light. And she writes with a sharp, subtle wit. Waltzing the Cat is a delight to read." Jon Krakauer

Review:

"Houston is a master of the deadpan sentence... this book is an impressive and creative marriage of two literary genres that couldn't be more at odds: the intimate self-exposure of traditionally female confessional writing with the laconic stoicism of the traditional male western." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

Review:

"Consider Waltzing the Cat an homage to the Equinox: equal dark, equal light; a book of truce. I love these fictions. I love Pam Houston. I love the inherent growth and confidence in this new work." Terry Tempest Williams

Review:

"Houston proceeds to dazzle you... [with] action stories — rough rivers and hang gliding come into play — and they are harrowing and fun to read." Arizona Republic

Synopsis:

A smart, sure-footed new work of fiction from the author of the best-selling Cowboys Are My Weakness.

About the Author

Pam Houston divides her time between her ranch in Colorado and the University of California at Davis, where she is director of the Creative Writing Program. She has been a frequent contributor to O, The Oprah Magazine, and her writing appears regularly in More and other publications. She in the author of the best-selling Cowboys Are My Weakness.

Table of Contents

The best girlfriend you never had — Cataract — Waltzing the cat — Three lessons in Amazonian biology — The moon is a woman's first husband — Moving from one body of water to another — Like goodness under your feet — Then you get up and have breakfast — The kind of people you trust with your life — The whole weight of me — Epilogue.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Felicity, October 10, 2008 (view all comments by Felicity)
I'm sure there are many books about a female narrator's tragicomic inability to find lasting relationships and worthwhile connections with men that I would hate. But Lucy's lovelorn life unfolds all over the world, in story-chapters set everywhere from the heart of a hurricane to the Amazon Basin, and threaten her with drowning, angry mama carnivores and crashing into cliffs. They aren't at all mundane.

It doesn't hurt that Houston has a talent for sketching characters so unbelievable they must be real, an effortless yet individual voice, or that she usually seems to spot schmaltziness coming a mile off and then sidestep it wickedly at the last minute. It entertains.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(7 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393027495
Author:
Houston, Pam
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Publication Date:
19981017
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.6 x 6 x 1.1 in 1.02 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Waltzing the Cat Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393027495 Reviews:
"Review" by , "This is a vigorous, often lyrical rendition of a young woman's quiet but intense search for herself. It's an old story, but Houston twists the telling by sending the fearless but terrified Lucy on an untraditional path, one that is typically masculine — a journey set against the dramatically rugged and unpredictable landscapes of rivers, canyons, mountains, furious oceans and even Manhattan."
"Review" by , "Waltzing the Cat is far from perfect, but Houston's vigorous voice and lively take on what it's like to be a woman both physically bold and hopelessly romantic are to be cherished nonetheless. After all, who says something's got to be perfect for you to love it?"
"Review" by , "As beautifully written as one would expect, shot through with Houston's irresistible blend of tough lyricism and wry humour."
"Review" by , "Houston's stories are so full of useable wisdom that she makes it seem like that's the least we should expect from the books we buy....If you had fun laughing at the woman in Cowboys Are My Weakness who keeps entering the ring, falling in love again and again with the same man in different bodies, you are really going to enjoy the company of the woman who actually wins a few rounds."
"Review" by , "For the tomboy of your acquaintance, any woman who chafes against the constraints of this still-patriarchal society, Waltzing the Cat is the perfect choice."
"Review" by , "This book reflects Houston's strength: clean, insightful, and down-to-earth storytelling that brings the wilderness of our world onto intimate footing."
"Review" by , "Pam Houston's beautifully constructed sentences are peppered with observations that reveal us to ourselves in an unexpected, occasionally shocking light. And she writes with a sharp, subtle wit. Waltzing the Cat is a delight to read."
"Review" by , "Houston is a master of the deadpan sentence... this book is an impressive and creative marriage of two literary genres that couldn't be more at odds: the intimate self-exposure of traditionally female confessional writing with the laconic stoicism of the traditional male western."
"Review" by , "Consider Waltzing the Cat an homage to the Equinox: equal dark, equal light; a book of truce. I love these fictions. I love Pam Houston. I love the inherent growth and confidence in this new work."
"Review" by , "Houston proceeds to dazzle you... [with] action stories — rough rivers and hang gliding come into play — and they are harrowing and fun to read."
"Synopsis" by , A smart, sure-footed new work of fiction from the author of the best-selling Cowboys Are My Weakness.
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