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Under My Wings Everything Prospers by Curtis…

Under My Wings Everything Prospers

by Curtis Harnack

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This is a book of seven short stories, few of which have any connection to any of the others. It is the sixth book by Harnack I have read. I long ago was attracted to his writing because he was born in Iowa and his cousin was a secretary in our office. Some of his books pertaining to Iowa settings resonated with me, including We Have All Gone Away, which poignantly talked of bygone time in Iowa and which I read 13 Dec 1980. However, this volume has three or four stories laid in Iowa, the best of which is "Mentor" involving a professor at a small Iowa college (Westmar?) and his puzzling and not explained behavior. The longest story, "White Blood", is a repulsive story of young misbehavers in eastern United States who do bizarre things and come in contact with,intra alia, a straying group of sisters in a convent on the Hudson. I found nothing edifying or entrancing in any of the stories. ( )
  Schmerguls | Feb 23, 2016 |
This is the third Harnack book I have read since I discovered his writing several weeks ago. This guy can write! The first two books I'd read were memoirs, which is my genre of choice most of the time. But this collection of six short stories and a novella (White Blood) was certainly worth reading. Every story is a small gem of perfectly realized characters, from the grotesque giant, son of the town banker in "Voice of the Town" to the middle-aged husband who is seduced by his son's mistress to an aging Iowa woman who is left behind by her grown children and takes in a mob of opportunistic hippies passing through town. As I read these stories I tried to figure out who Harnack's influences might have been, but couldn't decide. I thought of Sherwood Anderson, Cheever, O'Hara and even Updike. But perhaps what I was reading here was simply pure Harnack. His portraits of women are every bit as good as the men, which is not an easy thing for a male writer. McMurtry did that hat trick well in his novels Moving On and Terms of Endearment, but I can think of few others. Harnack's characters also brought to mind Elizabeth Strout's books Amy and Isabelle and the recent Pulitzer prize-winning Olive Kitteredge - a collection of stories which formed a novel. What is so very sad is that most of Harnack's books are out of print. But if you can find them, by all means get them and read them. I'll say it again. This guy can WRITE! ( )
  TimBazzett | Jul 26, 2009 |
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