Ancestors and Others : New and Selected Stories, by Chappell
- ISBN: 9780312561673 | 0312561679
- Cover: Hardcover
- Copyright: 10/27/2009
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In this collection, Fred Chappell shows his mastery across a range of genres. Featuring folk fables in the Twain tradition, realistic stories of growing up in remote Appalachia, stories of family, kin, and community, and tales of the fantastic and spooky, this book will delight fans and surprise new readers.Fred Chappellis the author of more than twenty books of poetry and fiction. He has received many major prizes, including the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, the Award in Literature from the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the Best Foreign Book Prize from the Academie Francaise, and for five years was Poet Laureate of North Carolina. A native of Canton, he taught for many years at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, and lives in Greensboro with his wife, Susan. Fred Chappell occupies an unusual place in American letters. Novelist, storyteller, poet, and critic, he is usually identified as a "Southern" author, but all of his work is rooted in an Appalachian mountain culture that was and still is isolated from the larger Southa world where hard-edge reality is blurred by myth, mystery, and a touch of magic. The stories selected inAncestors and Othersdemonstrate the breadth of Fred Chappell's mastery. Folk fables, portrayals of family, kin, and community, ghost stories, science-based fantastic tales, and stark surreal glimpses of parallel worlds: Every page of this long-awaited book will delight readers of different stripes and tastes. A boy discovers a secret buried in a locked trunk hidden in a disused room in his parents' home. A fleeing outlaw bushwhacks up Ember Mountain and comes upon a small house in a clearing, where he will meet an unexpected host. The botanist Carl Linnaeus finds hidden worlds within the plants he so carefully cultivates and classifies. An old woman and her friend search out rare roses in a graveyard, a sheriff arrives to find a dream blocking Highway 51, two wandering children are troubled by a doll's amputated foot, and a man out on a Christmas season hunt takes aim at more than he bargained for. Warm, good-humored, spooky, cerebral, and dramatic, these stories distill the wide-ranging talent of a unique writer. "This artful collection of stories spans the breadth of the reading experience. Prize-winning poet and novelist Chappell juxtaposes allegorical tales with Appalachian stories and unworldly works of imagination. In 'The Lodger,' he pokes fun at literature through the character of Robert Ackley, a librarian possessed by a demonic poet. In 'Alma,' we meet a strange but familiar world where women seem to be considered livestock. Each story exhibits Chappell's tight grip on the reader. 'Tradition,' a tale of a hunting trip gone awry, takes a direct route to a fine-tipped resolution, as does 'Bon Ton,' about the burden of everyday secrets. Chappell also provides more fantastic fare. In 'The Somewhere Doors,' we meet Arthur Stakl, a wildly imaginative sf writer contacted by undercover aliens offering him a choice that changes his life. VERDICT: A perfect book for the reluctant short-story reader. For all story collections and wherever cutting-edge writing is appreciated."Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Public Library, California,Library Journal "From Southern poet/novelist Chappell, a richly varied collection of short fiction . . . Chappell artfully blends homespun reality with shimmering fantasy in 'The Somewhere Doors' (down-at-heels SF writer finds redemption close to home), while 'The Three Boxes' is a powerful fable about racial justice. Peering into the future in the title story, Chappell sees Civil War re-enactment running amok; bio-engineered veterans make disastrous houseguests, he reveals. Looking ba