A stunning volume to be savored in a quiet, reflective mood.


A new edition of six previously published stories by Lopez, with engravings by Moser.

Lopez's fiction, like his nonfiction, is steeped in the natural world. “Desert Notes,” the first story in the collection, focuses on the elemental and largely silent world of the Mojave Desert. There’s no plot to speak of—just a narrator calling our close attention to a series of natural images. The main character in the second story, “Twilight,” is a pattern rug woven by Ahlnsaha, a Navajo woman, in 1934. We follow the ownership of this rug as it’s transferred from character to character—one gives it to his wife as a wedding present, another wants to make a profit from it, and still another donates it to the Catholic Church. Eventually the narrator acquires it from an antiques dealer, along with its mythic accretions—he’s told that “the rug has been woven by a Comanche who learned his craft from a Navajo [and] that she bought it on the reservation in Oklahoma.” Throughout “The Search for the Heron,” the narrator addresses a heron with poetic ardor: “Your sigh, I am told, is like the sound of rain driven against tower bells. You smell like wild ginger.” The other stories also feature the natural world prominently, as Lopez endows his landscape with light and lyricism. Moser's art adds greatly to the experience of reading these stories, capturing the passionate intensity of Lopez’s prose.

A stunning volume to be savored in a quiet, reflective mood.

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59534-189-1

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Trinity Univ. Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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It's being called a novel, but it is more a hybrid: short-stories/essays/confessions about the Vietnam War—the subject that O'Brien reasonably comes back to with every book. Some of these stories/memoirs are very good in their starkness and factualness: the title piece, about what a foot soldier actually has on him (weights included) at any given time, lends a palpability that makes the emotional freight (fear, horror, guilt) correspond superbly. Maybe the most moving piece here is "On The Rainy River," about a draftee's ambivalence about going, and how he decided to go: "I would go to war—I would kill and maybe die—because I was embarrassed not to." But so much else is so structurally coy that real effects are muted and disadvantaged: O'Brien is writing a book more about earnestness than about war, and the peekaboos of this isn't really me but of course it truly is serve no true purpose. They make this an annoyingly arty book, hiding more than not behind Hemingwayesque time-signatures and puerile repetitions about war (and memory and everything else, for that matter) being hell and heaven both. A disappointment.

Pub Date: March 28, 1990

ISBN: 0618706410

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1990

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What's most worthy in this hefty, three-part volume of still more Hemingway is that it contains (in its first section) all the stories that appeared together in the 1938 (and now out of print) The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories. After this, however, the pieces themselves and the grounds for their inclusion become more shaky. The second section includes stories that have been previously published but that haven't appeared in collections—including two segments (from 1934 and 1936) that later found their way into To Have and Have Not (1937) and the "story-within-a-story" that appeared in the recent The garden of Eden. Part three—frequently of more interest for Flemingway-voyeurs than for its self-evident merits—consists of previously unpublished work, including a lengthy outtake ("The Strange Country") from Islands in the Stream (1970), and two poor-to-middling Michigan stories (actually pieces, again, from an unfinished novel). Moments of interest, but luckiest are those who still have their copies of The First Forty-Nine.

Pub Date: Dec. 2, 1987

ISBN: 0684843323

Page Count: 666

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1987

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