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Same Place, Same Things

Same Place, Same Things Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Set largely in rural Louisiana, Tim Gautreaux's masterful debut story collection follows men and women whose ordinary lives reach a point of rupture, a moment when convention gives way to crisis and everything changes: A drunken train engineer charges toward disaster, a father borrows and old airplane to chase down his daughter's kidnapper, a young man falls in love with a voice on the radio. Written with humor, suspense, and a powerful affection for humanity in all its wild forms, Same Place, Same Things is the first great work by a master of the form.

Tim Gautreaux has written three novels and two collections of short stories, one of which, Welding With Children, was selected by The New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year. His fiction has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, GQ, and Zoetrope, and also in volumes of The O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories, and New Stories from the South. He is a professor emeritus/writer in residence in the English Department at Southeastern Louisiana University.

In this collection of stories, Tim Gautreaux chronicles the lives of "ordinary" people who face extraordinary circumstances and decisions: a farmer faced with the prospect of raising his infant granddaughter; a young man who falls in love with a voice on the radio; a train engineer who causes a colossal disaster. In tales filled with heart and humor, with events and consequences, both the customs and culture of Louisiana come to life in the hands of a writer who blends rare talent with an even more unusual humanity.
"Astounding . . . Masteries of grace and understatement, reminders of a what is most precious in human life . . . [Written] with an exquisitely expressed tenderness and hopefulness."Polly Paddock, The Charlotte Observer

"As good as stories getany stories, in any time or place . . . Imbued with the rich roux of family, place, race, and religion that is the base of all good southern fiction."Susan Larson, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

"Gautreaux is as good a storyteller as just about anyone writing short fiction in America today."Joel Lovell, The Boston Phoenix

"This man is a wonderful writer . . . I can honestly say I love to read his stories. He never exaggerates, never manipulates the reader's affections, but nonetheless he always captures the heart."James Lee Burke

"A terrific debut collection from a Louisiana writer whose stylish, sympathetic understanding of working-class sensibilities and Cajun culture gives his work a flavor and universality unique among contemporary writers. Gautreaux's 12 stories move to a musical beat, and they're filled with both verbal surprises and sudden narrative twistssometimes into unanticipated violence, sometimes, contrarily, toward revelations of more decency and strength in his characters than we had believed them capable of. His people include the itinerant pump repairman (in the title story) who gets unfortunately involved with a phlegmatic widow who'll do anything to escape her stifling life and environment; the middle-aged widower (of 'The Courtship of Merlin Le Blanc') who finds he can't escape the constrictionsand satisfactionsof family; a well-meaning exterminator ('The Bug Man') who becomes intimately, catastrophically involved in the lives of his clients; and, most memorably, the nursing-home employee (in the wonderful 'Deputy Sid's Gift') whose confused responses to the 'black drunk truck thief' who keeps invading his life eventually rescue him from his own meanness . . . All of the tales are powered by a racy, vigorous prose that makes you want to keep on quoting ('He didn't know her from Adam's house cat'; 'You can't work too steady if you're a Louisiana man. You got to lay off and smell the roses a bit, drink a little beer and put some wear on your truck'). Moving and memorable portrayals of people who really are changedand, often, in spite of themselves, upliftedby the complexities of their experiences and their relationships. The gifted Gautreaux harkens back to the early work of Flannery O'Connor."Kirkus Reviews

"Gautreaux's sharply imagined collection of stories about characters from the South (past and present) is developed with irony and a compelling moral dimension. At the center of many of these stories are characters unable to see their own actions and lives in relation to others, characters who have a 'big piece of [them] missing,' as a frustrated lover here remarks. In 'Waiting for the Evening News,' a conductor who abandons the scene because he is intoxicated thinks media publicity exaggerates his own responsibility for a train wreck and subsequent explosive chemical devastation, and only slowly does he begin to see the depth of his culpability. And in 'The Courtship of Merlin Leblanc,' a grandfather contemplating his own newly motherless grandchild's precarious future finally learns from his own still-living grandfather how to parent and how to take responsibility for giving help and direction to others. These are accomplished and often illuminating stories."Jim O'Laughlin, Booklist

"In the title story of this wonderful collection, a widow, desperateto escape the numbing ordinariness of her daily life, confesses to the itinerant pump repairman she hopes will be her fourth husband, 'Sometimes, I think it's staying in the same place, doing the same things, day in, day out, that gets me down.' How we stay or not stay in the same place (physically, morally, spiritually) all our lives is the theme of Gautreaux's 12 stories. An award-winning writer, he portrays with tenderness, humor, and sympathy the Cajun sawmill workers, exterminators, train engineers, and farmers of rural Louisiana . . . the volume ends on a high note with 'Deputy Sid's Gift,' a moving tale of meanness transformed into compassion."Wilda Williams, Library Journal

"In this memorable debut collection of a dozen stories, Gautreaux transforms working-class Louisianawith its Cajun accents, savory gumbo and strawberry wineinto a fertile landscape for epiphany. And thanks to his honey-smooth prose, the truth behind the complexly drawn characters and their often desperate circumstances is subtly and resoundingly revealed. The startling image of a baby playing with shotgun shells opens 'The Courtship of Merlin LeBlanc.' Aging Merlin must care for his baby granddaughter after his daughter, a woman with a troubled, drug-ridden past, dies in a plane crash. Merlin's attitude toward child-rearing'He was a man who never offered his children advice yet always marveled at how stupidly they behaved'has resulted, indirectly, in their lost lives and early deaths. But visits by his cantankerous forebearshis 76-year-old father, Etienne, and his ancient grandfather, Octavemake him understand the importance of this final chance to parent well. In the remarkable title story, a Depression-era pump repairman finds his traveling life the object of envy by a seemingly forlorn, poverty-stricken housewife. But when he realizes the depth of her desperation to escape 'the same place, same things, all my life,' it's too late. The final piece, 'Waiting for the Evening News,' in which an unhappily married train operator celebrates his 50th birthday by getting drunk on the job, only to have the train crash in what turns out to be a national disaster, won the 1995 National Magazine Award. Gautreaux's empathy for his characters strings a shimmering thread of hope and redemption throughout th

Synopsis:

Set largely in rural Louisiana, Tim Gautreaux's masterful debut story collection follows men and women whose ordinary lives reach a point of rupture, a moment when convention gives way to crisis and everything changes: A drunken train engineer charges toward disaster, a father borrows and old airplane to chase down his daughter's kidnapper, a young man falls in love with a voice on the radio. Written with humor, suspense, and a powerful affection for humanity in all its wild forms, Same Place, Same Things is the first great work by a master of the form.

About the Author

Tim Gautreaux has written three novels and two collections of short stories, one of which, Welding With Children, was selected by The New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year. His fiction has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, GQ, and Zoetrope, and also in volumes of The O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories, and New Stories from the South. He is a professor emeritus/writer in residence in the English Department at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Table of Contents

Same Place, Same Things
Waiting for the Evening News
Died and Gone to Vegas
The Courtship of Merlin LeBlanc
Navigators of Thought
People on the Empty Road
The Bug Man
Little Frogs in a Ditch
License to Steal
Floyd's Girl
Returnings
Deputy Sid's Gift
 

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312428785
Subtitle:
Stories
Publisher:
Picador
Author:
Gautreaux, Tim
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Stories (single author)
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20090106
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.29 x 5.53 x 0.615 in

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Same Place, Same Things
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$ In Stock
Product details 224 pages Picador USA - English 9780312428785 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Set largely in rural Louisiana, Tim Gautreaux's masterful debut story collection follows men and women whose ordinary lives reach a point of rupture, a moment when convention gives way to crisis and everything changes: A drunken train engineer charges toward disaster, a father borrows and old airplane to chase down his daughter's kidnapper, a young man falls in love with a voice on the radio. Written with humor, suspense, and a powerful affection for humanity in all its wild forms, Same Place, Same Things is the first great work by a master of the form.

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