The Man from Kinvara: Selected Stories

Tess Gallagher, Author . Graywolf $15 (249p) ISBN 978-1-55597-537-1

Poet Gallagher, encouraged into fiction by her third husband, short story master Raymond Carver, has published two prior collections—The Lover of Horses and At the Owl Woman Saloon . The present collection culls from those works; a standout from Lovers , “Girls,” profiles an elderly woman who visits an old friend who no longer recognizes her, but the two seniors manage to reconnect like teenagers, holding hands and gossiping about men. In the later collection, Owl Woman , the impact of Carver’s death is obvious; people struggling with death and loss abound. “I Got a Guy Once” is a heavy-handed working-class narrative of logging in decline. “My Gun” is equally contrived: a woman looking into buying a weapon after her husband’s death is a thinly veiled hack job about the pros and cons of owning a gun. The author’s voice is so different in the two periods (the early stories are gems) and the body of work so slim that the reason behind this collection is elusive. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/06/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!