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One Good Story, That One

by Thomas King

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2284120,562 (3.97)21
One Good Story, That One is a collection steeped in native oral tradition and shot through with Thomas King's special brand of wit and comic imagination. These highly acclaimed stories conjure up Native and Judeo-Christian myths, present-day pop culture, and literature while mixing in just the right amount of perception and experience.… (more)
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This is the first collection I've read by Thomas King and I was immediately struck by his definitive and disarming wit. There are times in these stories I found myself wondering how much of this is anecdote but then he pulls it all together by the end. Probably the best example of this is Trap Lines where the father's recollections of the past with his father and inability to connect with his son is brought to a close as the son leaves for college and the reader is left to wonder if he's unable to pass on life lessons because of his dad, modernity or a disconnection from nature. Corporal Colin Sterling is a hilarious account of all the First Nations becoming rigid and blue coyotes that come down in UFOs to take them away. This sci-fi social critique reminded me of Vonnegut, and highlights the reality of ridiculousness by going only a step further. Overall this is an entertaining book but there is nothing particularly striking or remarkable about the prose. It's made me interested in reading more of King's work and I'd encourage anyone looking for a funny and satirical collection of short stories to give this one a go. ( )
  b.masonjudy | Apr 3, 2020 |
Thomas King appears to be that rare breed of writer that can deliver a good short story that is engaging. Many of these stories concern Coyote, the trickster, a motif in many Native American stories. In the story "The One about Coyote going West" the narrator starts off "This one is about Coyote. She was going west. Visiting her relations. That's what she said. You got to watch that one. Tricky one. Full of bad business. No, no, no, no, that one says. I'm just visiting. Going to see Raven." That should give you a feel of how the stories involving Coyote go.

Other stories are about ordinary people to whom extraordinary things happen. In "The Seat in the Garden" a home owner keeps seeing an Indian in his garden but other people can't see him. In "Totem" totem poles keeps appearing in the corner of a museum even though there never were any displayed in the museum.

And other stories are about natives trying to maintain their unique ways while surrounded by white society. I particularly liked the last story "Borders" about a mother and daughter trying to cross the border from Canada to the US answering the question as to their citizenship by saying they are Blackfoot. They end up being in the no man's land between the US and Canadian crossing stations for several days before media attention forces a settlement.

These stories seem more authentic than the stories in The Miss Hobbema Pageant by W. P. Kinsella although I think Kinsella's stories were funnier. Anyone who wants a glimpse into native mythology and philosophy will enjoy these books. ( )
  gypsysmom | Aug 9, 2017 |
Loved these stories. What a whacky, insightful man. ( )
  thesmellofbooks | Dec 9, 2008 |
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One Good Story, That One is a collection steeped in native oral tradition and shot through with Thomas King's special brand of wit and comic imagination. These highly acclaimed stories conjure up Native and Judeo-Christian myths, present-day pop culture, and literature while mixing in just the right amount of perception and experience.

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