Love Life

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9780060160425: Love Life

A collection of short stories focusing on the everyday lives of ordinary Kentucky people from factory hands to schoolteachers. Set in bars and shopping-malls the stories capture the atmosphere of the small-town South and describe universal passions, disappointments and tragedies.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Through meticulous, dispassionate observation, Mason ( In Country ) again evokes in her short stories a largely blue-collar rural America in the vicinity of Paducah, in western Kentucky, with occasional forays into Memphis. With names like Opal, Lynette and Cody, her protagonists may have come only recently from down on the farm, but their relationships to their origins seem remote. These uprooted Southerners live in a realm of massive shopping malls and fast-food outlets; their transport, souped-up cars; their pleasures, frozen cocktails and the warm comfort of tanning booths; at home, they seek edification through Jim and Tammy Bakker's televangelistic PTL ministry, Kenny Rogers, TV soaps and game shows. A recurrent theme is the difficulty of settling for a single direction in life, relinquishing youth's sense of infinite possibilities, as the author observes her characters botching their lives and failing to adjust to changed circumstances. Mason's talent for conjuring up the material fabric of rural America may at times seem a substitute for deeper understanding, yet her point seems to be that these improvised lives lack self-perspective, submerged as they are in their immediate physical surroundings and day-to-day pleasures. These stories first appeared in the New Yorker , Atlantic Monthly and other magazines.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal:

YA-- Classic moments of insight emerge in Mason's stories as her Kentuckian characters encounter life's twists and turns. When death contrasts with her town's frenzied celebration of athletic superiority in "State Champions," 12-year-old Peggy is struck by the evanescent nature of victory. In "Piano Fingers," a young father fills the emptiness of his life with fantasies of a TV-detective alter ego, but these and other daydreams are put in perspective when he is overwhelmed by moments of giddy love for his children. When Cobb's fiancee reveals suicidal family tendencies in "Coyotes," he realizes that, in years to come, he may look back at this moment and know he shouldn't have gone any further. He accepts her possible flaw as one of the inevitable complications of love. The immediacy of these stories comes not just from Mason's frequent use of the present tense, or her often-criticized references to Wal-Mart and MTV, but, most of all, from her impressive ability to cut to the innermost emotions of a wide range of characters. Love Life' s authentic voices will appeal to teens.
- Keddy Outlaw, Harris County Public Library, Houston
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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