Red Stick Men: Stories

Tim Parrish, Author University Press of Mississippi $50 (228p) ISBN 978-1-57806-263-8
In Parrish's Baton Rouge, every block seems like the wrong side of the tracks. Racism is as thick as the humidity and every living room window harbors domestic violence, incest or just plain odd behavior. This accomplished first collection of nine terse stories showcases both Baton Rouge and the people that emerge from its rough houses, where $7 an hour is a wage to make a person grateful. In the first story, ""It Pours,"" a family listens to a cassette tape the oldest son has sent back from Vietnam, the soldier's voice ""halting and without energy."" Meanwhile, heavy rains threaten to overwhelm the house across the street, and the owner seems disinclined to do anything about it. In ""Bonnie Ledet,"" a boy named Jeb befriends some new neighbors, two brothers and a sister. They're a rough bunch, and Jeb's attraction to the sister, Bonnie, isn't without consequences. ""Exterminator"" brings a young man into a series of houses filled with pests, while his outside life proves just as messy. ""Roustabout"" leaves Baton Rouge for a nearby oil rig. There, a young worker finds himself in a relationship that challenges the boundaries of the tough roustabout world. Parrish knows Louisiana and he understands these beat cops, oil workers and exterminators, illuminating their everyday travails and inner lives even in the darkest corners. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
Paperback - 227 pages - 978-1-57806-421-2
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