Winner of Bread Loaf's 1996 Bakeless Prize, Hester's debut collection of eight stories (three previously published) explores the marginal life in Georgia and Texas, where people struggle mightily just to keep from going under. For instance, there's Leah in ``Deadman's Float,'' a young girl unhappily adrift at a Girl Scout summer camp. Leah isn't one of the best or brightest girls, but managing to survive the swimming test and peer put-downs is nothing compared to what she has to face at home, where older brother J.D. takes his rage at his father's departure out on their mother—until the police intervene. ``Alarm'' features a dying neighborhood in Austin, Texas, where ex- junkie Tyler and his girl Holly settle in search of peace only to learn that their neighbor across the street is a dealer. For a living Tyler installs security systems in the homes of Austin's elite, but he can do little against the Peeping Toms and burglars who terrorize his own neighborhood; when he loses the money from a paycheck he's just cashed, he can't even do anything to keep Holly from thinking he's back on smack. In a sort of sequel (``Grand Portage''), junkie Donny loses his girlfriend Delilah, who runs off with his best friend, Errol. But Errol has his own monkey on his back: He's on a hopeful mission from Texas to the Canadian border to see his father, who left him more than 20 years before—a mission doomed to fail. Finally, the title piece concerns another broken family, this one affluent, consisting of a brother who survives delinquency to become a TV weatherman, a sister who's mired in the same self-destructive lifestyle he once knew, and their defeated, alcoholic mother. Powerful, frank studies of despair in the midst of decay: crystallizations of what's left when the American dream dries up and blows away.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 1997

ISBN: 0-87451-823-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1997

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


The thirty-one stories of the late Flannery O'Connor, collected for the first time. In addition to the nineteen stories gathered in her lifetime in Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965) and A Good Man is Hard to Find (1955) there are twelve previously published here and there. Flannery O'Connor's last story, "The Geranium," is a rewritten version of the first which appears here, submitted in 1947 for her master's thesis at the State University of Iowa.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1971

ISBN: 0374515360

Page Count: 555

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1971

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



What's most worthy in this hefty, three-part volume of still more Hemingway is that it contains (in its first section) all the stories that appeared together in the 1938 (and now out of print) The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories. After this, however, the pieces themselves and the grounds for their inclusion become more shaky. The second section includes stories that have been previously published but that haven't appeared in collections—including two segments (from 1934 and 1936) that later found their way into To Have and Have Not (1937) and the "story-within-a-story" that appeared in the recent The garden of Eden. Part three—frequently of more interest for Flemingway-voyeurs than for its self-evident merits—consists of previously unpublished work, including a lengthy outtake ("The Strange Country") from Islands in the Stream (1970), and two poor-to-middling Michigan stories (actually pieces, again, from an unfinished novel). Moments of interest, but luckiest are those who still have their copies of The First Forty-Nine.

Pub Date: Dec. 2, 1987

ISBN: 0684843323

Page Count: 666

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1987

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet