Something in Common: Contemporary Louisiana Stories

Ann B. Dobie, Editor Louisiana State University Press $32.95 (303p) ISBN 978-0-8071-1644-9
In the introduction, Lewis P. Simpson locates the inherent weakness of regional fiction: ``the tyranny of local color.'' Noting that ``rich historical heritage can be more an impediment . . . than a help,'' Simpson writes that what these stories have in common is their rejection of cliched Louisiana exoticism. But though these tales eschew the timeworn Southern stereotypes, taken together they do conjure up a picture of a particular time and place. In ``The Blue Cat Club,'' Elton Glaser ably combines music and sensuous detail, describing jazz as ``a sound like moonlight over a tin roof.'' Ernest Gaines's ``The Turtle'' shows the poignant and brutal coming-of-age of two boys when their fathers take them to a local brothel. Other older voices include Walker Percy, represented by a chapter from The Moviegoers , and Andre Dubus, with ``A Father's Story,'' a nearly flawless tale of a man who keeps secret his daughter's culpability in a fatal hit-and-run accident. When confronted by God in his imagination, he replies, ``But You never had a daughter.'' These standards are largely upheld by the less familiar names. Carl Wooten's ``The Auctioneer,'' about an appraiser's visit after a couple's personal bankruptcy, is quiet and moving, while Frederick Barton's story of a fed-up grad student provides some welcome cynicism and humor. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
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