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The Way That Water Enters Stone: Stories (1991)

by John Dufresne

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A Louisiana farmer sees the images of Christ appear on the freezer door and questions the meaning of faith. In a Maine resort town, Miss Langevin, a spinster who could write a book on disappointment, now gets a chance to help another woman escape it. And in the title story, a science teacher's modest dreams and painful memories erode his existence like water entering stone. As an observer of secrets in these and other offbeat lives, John Dufresne crisscrosses the eastern United States like a contemporary Dos Passos, hearing familiar voices, letting them meander through his unique imagination, then spinning them out in stories rich with irony, braced by melancholy, and based on truth.… (more)
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A Louisiana farmer sees the images of Christ appear on the freezer door and questions the meaning of faith. In a Maine resort town, Miss Langevin, a spinster who could write a book on disappointment, now gets a chance to help another woman escape it. And in the title story, a science teacher's modest dreams and painful memories erode his existence like water entering stone. As an observer of secrets in these and other offbeat lives, John Dufresne crisscrosses the eastern United States like a contemporary Dos Passos, hearing familiar voices, letting them meander through his unique imagination, then spinning them out in stories rich with irony, braced by melancholy, and based on truth.

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A collection of short stories. The characters in this powerful debut collection desperately seek a salvation that they suspect will never come and yet, in just muddling through, his drifters, fast-food clerks, farmers, innkeepers, movie addicts, loners and losers achieve a certain dignity. Winner of a PEN fiction award, Dufresne carves a fictional territory extending from the bleak Massachusetts of Andre Dubus to the godforsaken Deep South of Flannery O'Connor.
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