The Expendables: Stories

Antonya Nelson, Author University of Georgia Press $19.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-8203-1156-2
Winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, the Nelson Algren Award and a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award, Nelson makes a vivid and exciting debut with this short-story collection. In the dozen entries here, we meet characters who negotiate intricate pathways through the adversity, loneliness, sadness and ironies of human relations. The bonds of marriage are scrutinized throughout, against settings that range from Atlanta to Chicago to a Colorado canyon. In the title work, the narrator is a teenage boy from a family ``Catholic only in theory and size,'' who parks cars at his sister's wedding to Chris the Sicilian. When the event ends in chaos he finds himself identifying with his father: ``I was him, I was my father and his life was happening to me. I was a man looking out at a neighborhood gone not bad, but askew, with cyclone fences and Gypsies and shootings at weddings.'' Two stories, ``Mud Season'' and ``Looking for Tower Hall,'' concern the same family coping with the death of a daughter. The mother, Lois, looks perpetually for meaning: ``Lois believed in human interest stories in the newspaper the way she believed in dreams. She was susceptible to both, drawn to their messages, which she took almost entirely at face value.'' In writing that is both charming and intelligent, Nelson displays a fresh and distinctive talent. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Paperback - 978-0-380-71452-0
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-684-84685-9
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