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Half an inch of water by Percival Everett

Half an inch of water (original 2015; edition 2015)

by Percival Everett

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572324,089 (4.15)2
A new collection of stories set in the West from "one of the most gifted and versatile of contemporary writers" (NPR) Percival Everett's long-awaited new collection of stories, his first since 2004'sDamned If I Do, finds him traversing the West with characteristic restlessness. A deaf Native American girl wanders off into the desert and is found untouched in a den of rattlesnakes. A young boy copes with the death of his sister by angling for an unnaturally large trout in the creek where she drowned. An old woman rides her horse into a mountain snowstorm and sees a long-dead beloved dog. For the plainspoken men and women of these stories--fathers and daughters, sheriffs and veterinarians--small events trigger sudden shifts in which the ordinary becomes unfamiliar. A harmless comment about how to ride a horse changes the course of a relationship, a snakebite gives rise to hallucinations, and the hunt for a missing man reveals his uncanny resemblance to an actor.Half an Inch of Water tears through the fabric of the everyday to examine what lies beneath the surface of these lives. In the hands of master storyteller Everett, the act of questioning leads to vistas more strange and unsettling than could ever have been expected.… (more)
Title:Half an inch of water
Authors:Percival Everett
Info:Minneapolis, MN : Graywolf Press, 2015.
Collections:Read in 2020

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Half an Inch of Water: Stories by Percival Everett (2015)



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There are usually no easy answers in these stories. They take place in the American West, Wyoming in some cases. A man is summoned by a dying Indian woman to find her eighty-two year old son. A veterinarian, an outsider because he’s black, helps track a lost deaf girl and finds her surrounded by rattlesnakes. A man tries to find someone named Billy White Feather because he left a note on the man’s door. A sheriff with a quiet jurisdiction confronts the day he knew would come.

Percival Everett’s writing is as clear, honest and bracing as the snowy, cold settings where they take place. ( )
  Hagelstein | Jan 18, 2017 |
I enjoyed every story in the collection. A mix of themes, stories of journeys that may or may not involve spiritual elements, of families in conflict, or of a test of some kind; all set in a harsh and beautiful landscape. The stories seem to both begin and to end mid-stream, and yet, to be entirely whole, exactly right.

One aspect about this collection that I really love is the way each story merges the physical world with the spiritual world in an unexpected way. The tone of the stories never wavers from the concrete, and yet miraculous things occur in the minds of the protagonists. Even life and death feel like two sides of the same river where you can cross back and forth with relative ease and without fear. "A High Lake" is a story where this easy travel from life to death and back again happens quite overtly, and where it is central to the story theme, and it was my favorite story. But there is the same, true kind of magic in each one of these stories. ( )
1 vote poingu | Jan 23, 2016 |
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