Sweet Land Stories
Ranging over the American continent from Alaska to Washington, D.C., these superb short works are crafted with all the weig ...more
Sweet Land Stories is a collection of five short(ish) stories, all but the last published in the New Yorker in the first few years of this decade. In order, A House on the Plains describes a young man's discovery that his mother is a serial killer, enticing men to a midwest farm to kill and rob them; Baby Wilson is told from the point of view of the boyfriend of a young woman who steals a child from a hospital; Jolene: A Life describes the disast ...more
"This newborn baby, whom we have stolen from another couple, will be safer and healthier with us..."
"My mother is justified in marrying and subsequently killing rich foreign men and keeping their money..."
"This man is so idiotically cocky and financially successful that I'm sure he'll make a great husband and ...more
Read them if you want to see a well-constructed story. "A House on the Plains" begins with a mother and son departing Chicago for a house outside the city (sounds like now it would be around Aurora, in the middle of another city, but anyway...). It's only very slowly that you realize that this happy family is not your and my kind of happy family. At least I hope not!
"Jolene: A Life" is grindingly ...more
Each critic professes great respect for Doctorow, who, at age 73 and many awards later, has earned it. However, there the split begins. Many critics hail these stories, four of which were published previously in The New Yorker, as an achievement that perfectly captures the American nation's mood, its aberrant characters, and dark underbelly. But others dismiss the book as a slim, shallow effort that does not live up to Doctorow's past work. Common complaints? "A House on the Plains" doesn't fit...more
My favorite line from all the stories is, "His real father was in the state penitentiary with no parole for the same reason his mother was in the burial ground behind the First Baptist Church."
06-05-11, have read 2 of the 5 stories so far, they do not disappoint.
08-13-11, I have finished reading the stories, wow, they are all very good; but I think my favorite is "Child, Dead, in the Rose Garden"