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Light Action in the Caribbean: Stories by…

Light Action in the Caribbean: Stories

by Barry Lopez

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Light Action offers many calm, beautiful and captivating stories that feel like they are being told in the strong and easy voice of one of the main characters, Emory.

For me, the book would have been a monumental Perfect 5 if "The Mappist" - truly brilliant - had been featured in place of the totally unpleasant and unwelcome Title Story. ( )
  m.belljackson | Oct 27, 2016 |
The stories in this collection are varied and artfully written. Barry Lopez is very good at taking you to a place where you think you know you’re going – then slewing into a new – but perfectly done –direction. The title story is a vicious example. Others gently and gracefully explore our deepest emotions (Remembering Orchards, The Letters of Heaven). A worthwhile collection. ( )
1 vote Hagelstein | Oct 10, 2010 |
Lopez, Barry. Light Action in the Carribean. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2000. I bought this book on a whim because I loved Lopez' About This Life, because it was autographed at Barnes & Noble, and because I was disappointed not to hear him read at Elliott Bay Books. The book is a collection of fiction. In all of the stories, the writing is beautiful. However, for the most part, Lopez tells the modern vignette-style story; he creates pretty, static scenes. Sometimes, even when there is overt action (such as Stolen Horses), things seem curiously detached. However, there are some real gems. RubMendoza Vega was delightful for its innovative storytelling style (The Kiss of the Spider Woman taken to an extreme). Emory Bear Hands' Birds is a lovely little fable. I enjoyed The Mappist because it captures my opinion of the importance of understanding the world we live in. The most memorable story is the title story, Light Action in the Carribean. Lopez does a great job developing characters, developing an interesting plot, and then throwing an amazing curve-ball ending that perfectly captures the senselessness of violence.
  BrianDewey | Jul 30, 2007 |
A mixed bag of eclectic short stories, of varying style and quality. Well-written for the most part, I liked best "Thomas Lowdermilk's Generosity", about a middle-aged gardener who becomes the subject of scandalous rumor when he marries a younger beautiful woman, "Mornings in Quarain", about a man's attempt to retrieve his murdered mother's manuscripts from the Muslim extremists who killed her because of them, and "The Mappist", a lovely tale about a man's homage to an old mapmaker who still believes in creating maps, and everything, slowly and with loving care. One story, the satiric "Ruben Mendoza Vega...", is an almost unreadable one-joke mess, and the title story, "Light Action in the Caribbean", focuses on a new couple's vacation to the caribbean, building sympathy for the woman and mild contempt for her lover, until a sudden and jarring conclusion that leaves a bad taste of ashes in the mouth. But the stories described earlier redeem the book as a whole. ( )
1 vote burnit99 | Feb 5, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679754482, Paperback)

A reader can never know for certain how Barry Lopez constructs his stories. But they read as though their author first came up with some utterly compelling image, and the story fit itself around the image. Fans of the author's nature writing in Crossing Open Ground and Arctic Dreams will be pleased to find that often these images express human devotion to the land. In a kind of fantasy piece titled "In the Great Bend of the Souris River," a horseman, adrift in the countryside in North Dakota, encounters two other riders who "could be Cree." The three men ride across the prairie together. "I knew these people no better than two deer I might have stumbled upon, but I was comfortable with them, and the way we fit against the prairie satisfied me. I felt I could ride a very long way like this, absorbed by whatever it was we now shared, a kind of residency." In "Remembering Orchards," a character recalls with regret his orchardist stepfather whom he wishes he'd known better and who died "contorted in his bed like a root mass."

Lopez introduces other, more disturbing images here as well, perhaps most notably in the title story, wherein a woman travels with her boyfriend to a diving resort in the Caribbean. In a weird twist on J.D. Salinger's "A Perfect Day for Bananafish," the trip ends in brutal bloodshed, which Lopez describes in chillingly affectless prose. The story contains this stunner of a sentence: "The first bullet tore through his left triceps, the second, third, fourth, and fifth hit nothing, the sixth perforated his spleen, the seventh and eighth hit nothing, the ninth hit the console, sending electrical sparks up, the tenth went through his right palm, the next four went into the air, the fifteenth tore his left ear away, the sixteenth ricocheted off the sixth cervical vertebra and drove down through his heart, exiting through his abdomen and lodging in his foot." There's no escape from Lopez's images; they come after us. --Claire Dederer

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:48 -0400)

Set variously in Peru, Chile, the Caribbean, California, and the American West, here are tales of men and women exploring the landscapes of their own innocence and desire; confronting violence, estrangement, and the disillusionment of war; or encountering the hope, fierce integrity, defiance, and wisdom of others.… (more)

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An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

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