A collection of truly brilliant short stories, each depicting the deeply personal experience of a universal or historical event. Momentous fiction from the best American writer of his generation. A group of housewives smoke cigars and play cards whilst a tornado approaches a west Texas town. An Asian-American medic bicycles through the Vietnam ...
A collection of truly brilliant short stories, each depicting the deeply personal experience of a universal or historical event. Momentous fiction from the best American writer of his generation. A group of housewives smoke cigars and play cards whilst a tornado approaches a west Texas town. An Asian-American medic bicycles through the Vietnam countryside with her husband and son and returns to the spot where she once held dying soldiers. Or a young rockabilly aficionado prepares for a date in a Ukranian village close to Chenobyl. The words of Beatles songs sung in a Cambodian work camp. Cullin's ability is to miraculously create moments of true pathos which distill important human experience into a single hair-raising image. I can honestly say they are the best stories I have ever read, they are chillingly good and I have utter conviction that this is a great writer.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-10-29 Texas is a big place, as everyone knows, though not big enough to fully contain Cullin's literary imagination. After three gritty novels set in the vast, empty Texas countryside (Whompyjawed; Branches; Tideland), Cullin ranges across the globe in this thoughtful collection of stories. In the title story, Marie and Al, married Vietnam War veterans, return to Vietnam with their teenage son for an ill-conceived bicycle tour. Though ostensibly tourists, they can't help grappling with wartime memories. Marie, a Japanese-American who was a nurse during the war, recalls "those few boys refusing my aid because, to them, I was just another slant-eye, a gook." "History is Dead" moves across the border to Cambodia for a visit to the infamous killing fields and Pol Pot's re-education campaign. "Wormwood" deals with another type of disaster as it follows a boy's life in the aftermath of the Chernobyl meltdown. Though rich in detail (in "Wormwood," Soviet authorities order everyone in the fallout zone to wash their hair), these stories read somewhat slowly. Cullin warms to his task when he returns to his old stomping-ground, Texas, for "Five Women in No Particular Order." The five smalltown friends of the title think they know everything about each other, joking over their weekly poker game, but driven by boredom or failed aspirations, some have begun to live risky, clandestine lives. "Sifting Through" and "Totem" both follow disaffected teenage boys as they seek redemption, or at least a sense of belonging. It's good to see Cullin continue to stretch his boundaries, as he did in the quirky Cosmology of Bing, though it's clear he's still most comfortable under the skies of Texas. (Dec. 3) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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