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The Convict and Other Stories

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  524 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
One of the country’s most-acclaimed and popular novelists offers a selection of a dozen short stories set in James Lee Burke’s most beloved milieu, the Deep South.

“America’s best novelist” (The Denver Post), two-time Edgar Award winner James Lee Burke is renowned for his lush, suspense-charged portrayals of the Deep South—the people, the crime, the hope and despair infused
ebook, 240 pages
Published July 13th 2010 by Pocket Books (first published 1985)
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Jul 11, 2010 Chip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book benefited from the concurrent reading of two other short story collections which proved far inferior to this one. Nameless the other two shall remain. This might have been a four star book except that the power and quality of the stories varied greatly -- a four star book would have been powerful cover to cover.

Here's my scoring:
Uncle Sidney and the Mexicans - 2/5
Losses - 1/5
The Pilot - 2/5
Taking A Second Look - 2/5
Hack - 3/5
We Build Churches Inc - 4/5
When Its Decoration Day - 4/5
I had no idea what I was getting into with Burke, but now I can say I know a little bit more about the Korean War, the Civil War, Cold Wars in Latin America, baseball, fishing, oil rigs, southern Catholics, and Mexican farmworkers. Here Burke writes ultra-masculine stories told through the eyes of two character types: a white boy around his elders or a white man around people of color. I haven't read much Faulkner and Hemmingway, but I imagine Burke fancies himself their freakin' lovechild. I en ...more
Pat Murray
Again Burke's writing is without equal. He touches on race relations, war, unfulfilled dreams in this collection of short stories. But this format does not suit him as well as the novel does. His ability to describe scenes and develop characters is limited because of the space requirements. These are the things that make him the great writer that he is. The stories are thought provoking but they all left me wanting more.
Feb 15, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
SS - Burke brings the reader inside the minds and emotions of his characters, in stories that strike to the heart. They each concern the search for a reason, a purpose behind the interminable battle between good and evil. ""Uncle Sidney and the Mexicans'' focuses on a maverick tomato picker, fired for petty reasons and deprived of a day's pay, who is hired by the narrator's uncle and enabled thereby both to revenge himself on his former boss and to teach a lesson about Mexicans to the local bigo ...more
D. Ward
Jul 08, 2009 D. Ward rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
James Lee Burke is perhaps most notable for his series of books starring the New Orleans detective Dave Robicheaux (from which a couple of films have been made; good films, too.) This book of short stories is not about Robicheaux but a good read nonetheless - good, not great depending on what you were hoping to get out of it.
I think I was hoping to find some of the grit and grime of the world that his Robicheaux character inhabits. In short, I think I was expecting something with a little more
James Sorensen
Mar 15, 2013 James Sorensen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a great collection of short stories by James Lee Burke. The author that would shortly publish his first Dave Robicheaux novel, "The Neon Rain". These nine stories deal with Southern bigotry and Southern life, the hatred that causes war and the inner turmoil that each man faces. These stories are a must read for fans of Mr. Burke's current novels.

These stories along with some of Me. Burke's earlier novels, Half of Paradise; To the Bright and Shining Sun; Lay Down My Sword and Shield
Dec 28, 2008 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first story in the collection deals with prejudice and is entitled "Uncle Sidney and the Mexicans." It concerns Hack, who picks crops during the summer. He is intrigued by, and wants to date, Juanita, a Mexican girl working with them. Hack invites her out, much to the consternation of the local hoodlums and the white religious establishment personified by preacher Willis, who owns the fields they work on. A cross is burned on Uncle Sidney's lawn where Hack is staying. Uncle Sidney is not wha ...more
This slimmer, and slightly less dark collection is not as satisfying as his Jesus Out to Sea, but touches on similar themes. I enjoyed "Uncle Sidney and the Mexicans" (about a stubborn farmer who rebels against the racism and intolerance of his neighbors) and "Hack" (a 94-year-old ex-Texas Ranger taking a memory trip in his mind). Burke's foray into Civil War fiction was pretty strong, "When It's Decoration Day." I think he should consider writing a novel-length work with the Civil War as his ba ...more
Jan C
Jan 07, 2009 Jan C rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: James Lee Burke fans, people who like short stories
Recommended to Jan C by: Jonathan
Shelves: south, anthology
I didn't really like this book very much. Maybe I am past my short story phase.

I enjoyed two stories, "Losses" and the title story, "The Convict". I think maybe I liked them because they showed levels of personal courage. Also, I like"coming of age" stories, and that's what these were.

And I thought I could see shades of the Dave Robicheaux stories in "The Pilot". Or maybe more shades of Dave's friend Clete. But you can see some of his future writings in this story.
May 04, 2015 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
Mr Burke has to be one of the best storytellers! These short stories allow him free rein away from the strictures of a long plotline (mind you - that doesn't deter him either). As with most anthologies, some stories shine that little bit brighter and the headline story, together with the one about the pilot are the two that shone the brightest for me. Highly recommended to the normal crew.
Oct 24, 2009 Shruts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I admit to being a James Lee Burke fanatic, especially the Dave Robicheaux detective/mystery series. These shorts collected in 1985 show Burke's range- historical stories set in the Civil War and Korean war ("When It's Decoration Day", my fave story here), social themes of racial and ethnic friction, etc. 25 years since publication, and this collection still reads like today
I fell in love with Burke's novels via, and I try to read everything of his I come across. Unfortunately, the stories in this collection are good but they're not up to his usual standards. Possibly he's trained himself to write novels for so long that the short form of fiction suffers. They're worth reading, but only once.
Oct 12, 2016 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good collection of stories

I'm a big fan of Burke and have read a lot of his books. Like everything Burke does the stories are well written and filled with the colorful prose and analogies I have come to expect. Several stories have tie ins to characters in his books. However, a the stories stand by themselves and can be enjoyed by anyone.
May 07, 2016 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Burke never disappoints...

If you are a James Lee Burke fan, you will like this book. If you've never read him before, these stories will give you a glimpse into our long-ago with all its imperfections, forgotten secrets, guilty pleasures, and lost innocence.
Billy J Gilliam
Jun 13, 2016 Billy J Gilliam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Burke At His Best

Another five star gem from the master storyteller. I have long been a die hard fan of Mr. Burke and heartily recommend his work. I have only one criticism; the book should be longer.
May 16, 2016 Marsha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am slowly reading these short stories. I have read nearly all of JLBurke's novels, which are very good. These short stories are as good as novels in terms of powerful prose that packs a punch. I consider Mr. Burke one of the best American writers alive.
Nov 14, 2014 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of the early work of James Lee Burke is interesting because the stories actually form a larger work, as the places and characters of the stories are shared over time.
This is an interesting look at his work in the formative stages, before his best-seller period.
Tom Hicks
James Lee Burke is one of my favourite authors. He takes you into the story and keeps you thinking and flowing with the story. I always look forward to all his novels and short stories. I had read this one before and still enjoyed it a second time.
Burke just puts it out there. All the hate and bigotry and the death in wars that no one wants to talk about, Burke flat out tells it like it is. No sugar coating the truth. This was a book of short stories covering a span of one hundred years or more. This book broke my heart...
Pamela Mclaren
Sep 25, 2012 Pamela Mclaren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Still reading — about two-thirds through — but got to say, James Lee Burke knows how to write a scene! I don't read war books but a couple of his stories about the Vietnam War really bring home the emotions, the heartache, etc.
Jun 28, 2012 Cathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Craig Flint
Jul 12, 2016 Craig Flint rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully constructed short stories with themes that will appeal to all readers written by a man who has few peers in his ability to verbally create visual paintings of time and place..
Jun 30, 2010 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Collections of short stories are not usually what I would select, but they are perfect for travel. James Lee Burke is an excellent writer and this collection is no exception. Well worth the read.
Hari Brandl
May 14, 2016 Hari Brandl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These stories were as good as previous things I have read by Mr Price.
Oct 29, 2014 Hawley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like this author, but it appears I am not a fan of short stories. I'll stick to his full length novels which I normally love, this format just didn't do it for me.
Sep 06, 2014 Patriciagoodwin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Audio book. Didn't like any of the stories. None of them seemed to get anywhere & at the end of each, I was left thinking was that it? ....
Dennis Fischman
James Lee Burke can always set a scene, whether it's in Louisiana or in Korea. Without the murder mysteries to solve, though, his writing becomes unstructured sometimes.
Soul Survivor
30 years old volume of short stories . My 26th James Lee Burke book read !
Aug 19, 2012 Cammie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James Lee Burke is one of best writers of our times. He is one of the few writers whose books I will purchase in hard cover because I can't wait for the paperback version to come out.
Ann Johnson
Jun 19, 2016 Ann Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
our our our Excellent

A very good collection of short stories in the inimitable style of James Lee Burke, one of the best writers of our time.
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James Lee Burke is an American author best known for his mysteries, particularly the Dave Robicheaux series. He has twice received the Edgar Award for Best Novel, for Black Cherry Blues in 1990 and Cimarron Rose in 1998.

Burke was born in Houston, Texas, but grew up on the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast. He attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Missouri, receiving
More about James Lee Burke...

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