Short Story Anthology Review
fifteenth anniversary volume holds twenty tales by twenty authors. The
authors spin yarns of the South today. The tales are timeless and so
tales seem all too realistic, hitting close to home, while others seem
fantastically, outlandish. Some authors wring our hearts; others make us
laugh. All seem in the strange language of South- gentile, guttural, at
times racist and violent, others beguiling. Soft or harsh, their tales
speak of an experience uniquely American.
H. McNeely’s "Sheep" views the world and a sequence of events
through the eyes of a disturbed and confused man. McNeely paints a
convoluted story of white lightning, Texas death row, and slaughter.
"The Circus House," Cathy Day tells the tale of a woman’s
heart through years of longing against the backdrop of circus life. Subtly
the author cloaks Mrs. Colonel’s loneliness in her earnest and at times
hilarious attempts to provoke affection from her husband,. from the circus
workers, from a young painter.
at the Office" is a breathtaking tale of a workaholic and the onset
of his senility as told by his son.. The embarrassment of realizing that
your father has been bit by bit forgetting his reality- names and places.
How his family copes with the cruel ravages of time is pull together by
Gurganus to a fitting conclusion.
Manette Ansay "Box" on the eve of their baby’s birth, a couple
question themselves and one another’s abilities as parents, lovers,
husband, wife as their marriage disintegrates. A box full of kittens comes
to symbolize the uncertainty of their union.
Brenner "Mr. Puniverse" narrates a story of romance, homophobic
cruelty, tingled with a paranormal electricity. Cruel
co-workers enter a reporter as a joke in the Mr. Puniverse Pageant, but a
newspaper photographer sees only his strange beauty masquerading as
Helen Stefaniak "A Note to Biographers Regarding Famous Author
Flannery O’Connor" tells the tale of the women in here family
through their recollections of a young Flannery O’Connor. In telling
their story, she is exploring her own.
African Americans and their peculiar existence in the South remains
invisible or in the background. Coloreds, niggers, are seen in passing,
remarked on, hated, ignored, but few tales truly explore this
disconcerting phenomenon so American so Southern. When D. Winston Brown,
in his "In the Doorway of Rhee’s Jazz Joint," expresses the
inherent racism of America in the South, his characters brittle over
whiskey about violent incidents. His debate is the sole one in the
The stories in this anthology share a soft, slow rhythm played strangely. Pleasant and perverted simultaneously.
© 2001 Southern Scribe, All Rights Reserved