THE TALL UNCUT: Stories by Pete Fromm


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A first collection of 17 stories set in the America West among men, and sometimes women, for whom hunting and fishing are self-defining actions. The best pieces use such action to take the reader into the vagaries of character, but the book is most memorable for its evocative descriptions of landscape. The title story is a rather rambling telling about an adolescent who goes to stay in Chicago with his Grandma when his parents, committed flyers, are killed. The ""tall uncut,"" a legend concerning a nearly perfect stand of trees--trees that are then cut to the ground--serves as metaphor for the process whereby the narrator finds his way past his Grandma's fears (she doesn't want him to fly) to his own life. ""Mardi Gras,"" a road-story about a man who leaves Denver, convinced of his wife's infidelity, for New Orleans and Carnival, is very good in managing to relate Bourbon Street wildness to the man's anguish. Likewise, in ""Bean Time,"" a philanderer husband has reached the ""disentanglement phase"" of his latest affair, and a switch in point of view to the aggrieved wife brings home the bacon by forcing the reader into a complex sympathy. Of the rest, the fishing and/or hunting stories (""Mighty Mouse and Blue Cheese from the Moon,"" ""Trash Fish,"" etc.) survive some sentimentality to track relationships that are either winding down or revving up. Fromm, a professional outdoorsman, is at his best when he stays close to what he knows--the way the wild reduces or enlarges human events.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1992
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: John Daniel