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Fire Ants: And Other Stories by Gerald Duff
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Fire Ants: And Other Stories

by Gerald Duff

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There is no stopping point of advantage between the two parts of your life, the before and that which is coming. All that is is now, a little word and a narrow place where you must stand and one which crumbles off beneath your feet on both sides, of what was and what will be. You cannot reach either place from here.
from the story Texas Wherever You Look

This book of 15 short stories is a real gem. Gerald Duff captures the southern voice honestly without the stereotyped southern drawl and the 'you come back now, you hear?' phrases... his words cover you like a worn quilt on a cool, humid southern night. Slipping into this book is effortless and more than a little welcoming. His people are real. Some are slightly damaged, broken by hard use over long years, or hungry for something lacking in their environment, or just plain damaged. I couldn't help but think of Faulkner while reading this book, especially when visiting with the Holt family (on three separate occasions).

Some of the characters are loosely linked through the stories. The different times and narratives foster a familiarity with their history.

In Duff's stories you will meet an old lady who lies down with fire ants, a preacher who looks for God during a hunt, a man who is determined to make his dream come true, an aspiring poet confused with dating practices, and a blind man who once saw a skinned rabbit. And you will meet the Holt family.

'Yeah. People will tell you anything when they want something from you. I learned that years ago.' I was in no position then to doubt anything she said, so I nodded a lot to show I was in agreement with what she'd just told me, though the fact was at that point in my life nobody had yet to want anything from me enough to lie to me to get it. I had a lot to look forward to.
from the story The Bliss of Solitude ( )
1 vote Banoo | May 17, 2009 |
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