The nineteen stories that this memorable collection comprises are a powerful testament to the continuing vitality of the literary tradition in Louisiana. Something in Common includes work by such well-known Louisiana wrters as Walker Percy, Ernest Gaines, Shirley Ann Gray, and André Dubus, as well as stories by younger wrtiers whose reputations are still being established. Together the stories provide a remarkable record of the vigor of fiction in Louisiana as the twentieth century draws to a close.
Though contemporary, these stories are a result of the habit of telling tales that goes back to the earliest days of the state’s history. They come from writers who may now live in Main or California but who remember the our stories become a mirror in which we can see ourselves and know who we are, and where we have come from.
The stories have in common a fundamental belief in the power of the written word to define a particular place and time. They testify to the rich culture of the past, when Louisiana’s ways set it apart, and to present that is pulling the state to be part of social forces once foreign to its ways. They revel a society of several races and many histories, with fading definitions of traditional roles and changing family patterns.
Additionally, these stories depict the changes brought on by merging the old with the new. They rehearse the familiar themes of good, evil, freedom ,and reality with a voice not heard in the Louisiana of the past. To establish tradition they bring a fresh point of view. Something in Common remembers the past, shows us the present, and points the way to the future.
List of Stories and Authors
The Pearl, Stella Nesanovich
The New Orleans of Possibilities,David Madden
Blue Cat Club,Elton Glaser
Mr. Bo William Mills Because I Was Naked,James H. Wilson
The Peaceful Eye,Martha Lacy Hall
Reunion,John William Corrington
The Man OutsideShirley Ann Grau
The Goose and the Thorn,Dev Hathaway
When The Bang Comes, She’ll be Lying in Bed Dreaming,Patrick Andrews
The Turtles,Ernest Gaine
sSieur Iberville,Walker Percy
A Father’s Story,André Dubus
Piccadilly,John S. Tarlton
Beach Balls, Gold Stars, Mahatma Gandhi, and Hell,Frederick Barton
The Auctioneer,Carl Wooton
There Are No Birds in Hoboken,James Knudsen
Annie, Listening,Nancy Richard
The Mississippiman’s Son,Albert Belisle Davis
Ann Brewster Dobie, professor emerita of English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, is the editor of three anthologies of works by Louisiana writers: Something in Common: Contemporary Louisiana Stories, Uncommonplace: An Anthology of Contemporary Louisiana Poets, and Wide Awake in the Pelican State: Contemporary Louisiana Stories.
Lewis P. Simpson (1916-2005) was Boyd Professor and William A. Read Professor of English, emeritus, at Louisiana State University. Among his many books are The Man of Letters in New England and the South; The Dispossessed Garden; The Brazen Face of History: Studies in the Literary Consciousness in America; Mind and the American Civil War: A Meditation on Lost Causes; and The Fable of the Southern Writer. He was a founding member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, president of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature, and coeditor of the Southern Review from the inauguration of the New Series in 1965 until his retirement in 1987.
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