A Stranger in This World: Stories (Vintage Contemporaries) by Kevin Canty

By Kevin Canty

Within the culture of the works of Raymond Carver and Richard Ford, this fiction debut shines with verbal brilliance. irritating but compellingly readable, the tales during this assortment discover the distance among unhappiness and desire, among lifestyles because it might be and lifestyles because it is.

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They ate in silence and Lenny’s face once again was discolored with blotches of pink spun sugar. Loudspeakers announced a glassblowing demonstration in tent # and mother and son exchanged knowing stares. They had seen the glass blowing demonstration eight years running and this time they were not going to fall for it. There really was nothing new from year to year, and yet their decision to attend each year was not even voluntary at this point. Just as it was not a decision to head for the ice-cream stand once they had finished the cotton candy, double dips of vanilla for both of them.

But Vera sensed his embarrassment. “You’ve got me on that one,” she said. ” “I think so. ” “Vera,” Edith interrupted, “would you like to change clothes? I mean , no one will know. ” Vera didn’t seem upset with Edith’s suggestion. In fact, the idea refreshed and stimulated her. Ollie, on the other hand, could not imagine her in anything but the majestic black robes. He was afraid of losing her, her specialness, as though she would reappear in common dress and treat him exactly as his mother did— 48 ROBES as though he could do nothing right.

Becky Maddox burst out laughing. She was in his class and was the best speller in the fourth grade. She even knew how to spell the capital of Swaziland, and what kind of useless information is that? Ollie now stared at the hand which extended from the huge 44 ROBES folds of Sister Theodosa’s black sleeve. Sister Theodosa knew too well what it was to be a curiosity, she knew how it had shaped her life, and now she loved God and his little children. “Come here,” she said to Ollie. Wade and Leon were giggling uncontrollably, but Ollie didn’t care.

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