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Shiloh and Other Stories by Bobbie Ann Mason
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Shiloh and Other Stories

by Bobbie Ann Mason

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On our trip to Europe a few summers ago this book meant more to me than any other. So much so, I would almost say that Mason became my favorite contemporary writer, although if it came down to recommending a work, I don't really think any of the 3 I've read so far is truly "great" on its own. It's the final reflection or cumulative appeal that makes her work important to me...that and the enjoyment of reading it in the present tense!

Mason does use present tense segments quite a bit in the SHILOH stories. Normally that style doesn't appeal to me, but here it works as an appropriate mark of her down-home characters' time orientation: the past is quickly ignored (though its deep effects lurk everywhere unsuspected), while the future is only something the here & now grades into unnoticeably. I shared "Residents and Transients" and "The Retreat" with my husband, in hopes of giving him an impression of my homesick outsider's status while we visited Estonia.

Mason's evocation of the small-town American attitude is masterful. ( )
  AnesaMiller | Mar 5, 2014 |
Normally I don’t pick up a volume of stories to read, but the fact that this is a well known Kentucky author, and I had read some of her other novels, I was compelled to see what was inside. I’m glad I read this book. The stories all have similar themes, and if you read it all at once like I did, the characters and plots can get a little confusing and start to run together. The author writes perfectly using the dialect and slang of country people in Kentucky. All the stories take place in western Kentucky, and familiar places like Paducah, Kentucky Lake, and Murray State University are often mentioned. I loved the characters in these stories because, if you are from Kentucky, most likely you have known people who are just like them in the way that they talk and act. All of the stories have a theme of relationships, and the characters all seemed to be yearning for something
more out of life, although what was not always clear. There is not a clean ending for most of these stories, but it is just like sampling a slice of their everyday lives. This is a nice book to pick up and read when you are on the go and don’t want to be tied down with a long novel. ( )
  little-sparrow | Nov 4, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375758437, Paperback)

"These stories will last," said Raymond Carver of Shiloh and Other Stories when it was first published, and almost two decades later this stunning fiction debut and winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award has become a modern American classic. In Shiloh, Bobbie Ann Mason introduces us to her western Kentucky people and the lives they forge for themselves amid the ups and downs of contemporary American life, and she poignantly captures the growing pains of the New South in the lives of her characters as they come to terms with feminism, R-rated movies, and video games.

"Bobbie Ann Mason is one of those rare writers who, by concentrating their attention on a few square miles of native turf, are able to open up new and surprisingly wide worlds for the delighted reader," said Robert Towers in The New York Review of Books.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:58 -0400)

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