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Welding with Children

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  402 ratings  ·  46 reviews
A master storyteller's triumphant, moving collection about lost souls, found love, and rediscovered tradition

Tim Gautreaux returns to the form that won him his first fans, with tales of family, sin, and redemption: from a man who realizes his grandchildren are growing up without any sense of right or wrong, and he's to blame; to a camera repairman who uncovers a young woma
Paperback, 209 pages
Published September 3rd 2000 by Picador (first published 1999)
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  402 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Diane Barnes
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Eleven excellent short stories, each one a wonder of insight into the kind of people we all know. The first story made me laugh out loud more than once. This book was published in 1999, so I'm really looking forward to his new collection. It's rare than an author can do both novels and short stories equally well, but this one can.
Oct 05, 2016 added it
This book is bogus!!! SO you asked what happend my friends??? I wanted to teach my 3 year old to weld. so i told him to read this book, i thought he knew how to read. I thought he was old enough.. I was wrong.. he welded for 2 hours without parental supervision and never put his welding helmet down.. he is now blind for the rest of his life. FML. I just might sue this book, for not teaching him the right technique.
Lauren Davis
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have no idea why Gautreaux hasn't been on my radar before this. What a splendid writer. These stories are funny, poignant, compassionate, and wise. I will be recommending all my creative writing students run out and buy his books.
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the stories really knocked my socks off. Sorry Blood and Easy Pickings were my favorites, and I imagine I'll read them many times. Some of the other stories were also excellent, and there were a few that were good but not great. I will be seeking out his other books, books for sure.
Alison Hardtmann
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-library
Years ago, I read the title story and it stuck clearly enough in my mind that when I ran across a copy of the book, I wanted to read it. Considering that I have forgotten entire novels, this is notable. The story remained much as I had remembered it; the first person recounting of a day spent caring for his daughters' children, and the realization that he is not free from blame in his daughters' life choices. Set in a small town in Mississippi, there's both a strong atmosphere of people not quit ...more
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Zoom by: David Scrimshaw
This was a terrific collection of short stories all set in the American south against a backdrop of multi-generational poverty. I do love writers who can inject a little humour into sad stories. It adds warmth, somehow. Some of these stories were seriously funny.
Jack Heller
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Short stories set in Louisiana (for most of them). I read this three years ago. My favorites are the title story, the one about the alcoholic priest, the one with the photographs of the ship, and the home invaders story.
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love short stories that have an actual storyline and plot, as opposed to just some guy sitting in his kitchen and mournfully remembering how the trees outside used to have leaves on them, or whatever. These were excellent. I will be checking out his other collection ASAP.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Each story leaves you wanting more. Made me miss home and driving the back roads of Louisiana.
Ann Goethe
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great LA characters. Uneven, some of the stories really fine.
Suzanne Moore
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
All these stories were very entertaining, but “Sorry Blood” had me on the edge of my seat so to speak. I worried through most of the story about the old farmer with Alzheimer’s. When the old man was picked up by a stranger claiming to be his son, I was furious with the way he was being exploited. The slob who took advantage of the confused old man was so grotesque that I wanted him to get his due in the worst way. Others have compared Gautreaux to Flannery O'Conner and I can see the resemblance ...more
Jan 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This was a perfect lunch hour book for two reasons. First, each short story in this collection takes about 45 minutes to read start-to-finish, so the logistics couldn't have been better. And second, these stories take place for the most part in southern Louisiana (though not New Orleans), and I enjoyed getting that far out of the office each day.

Though each short story is self-contained and capable of standing on its own (no recurring characters), they all seem to complement each other. Each su
Richda Mcnutt
Jun 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved Gautreaux's novel, "The Missing," and was so pleased when my daughter gave this collection of short stories to me for my birthday. It did not disappoint - unlike some collections which are quite repetitive in either theme or similar characters, Gautreaux gives us eleven stories that are completely different. Some are humorous, some bittersweet, some quirky; but all feature unique Louisianans that will keep you entertained. The only bad thing about the book: it's not long enough.
Anara Guard
Jul 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read a lot of stories, and Tim Gautreaux has a voice unlike any other. His particular Louisiana tone is so precise, the strangeness of some of his characters is heartbreaking. They are everyday and odd at the same time. As the title of the collection indicates, they take risks and do things that no "ordinary" person would dream of doing, and they somehow seem not to regard the perils as we think they should. We cringe at the choices they make, we hope for the best, we turn the page, we sih.
Mike Rumley-Wells
Aug 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
I liked this collection better than Same Places, Same Things, though I gave them both four stars (I'd be in favor of a 100 star rating system). So many contemporary short story authors equate "bleak" with "literary." In Welding with Children, Gautreaux demonstrates how a story can be hopeful without being cheesy or unrealistic.
Mary Z : )
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is my first Tim Gautreaux book, but certainly not the last. He has outstanding storytelling skills. The characters and storylines are fresh, interesting, and diverse. The short stories feel complete, yet at the same time there's a sense that each story existed before and after the episode I read. This was a page turner that I didn't want to end.
Jlnpeacock Peacock
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of excellent short stories. There were a number that were so real and touching; others were delightfully funny. Perhaps the stories seem more true because they take place in South Louisiana...and I do know a few folks just like the ones in the stories. It was a pleasant read.
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Tim Gautreaux was my creative writing professor in the 70's. My grown daughter gave me this book for a birthday present, as she knew how highly I thought of Dr. Gautreaux. I had forgotten what a splendid writer he was. The title story, Welding with Children, is both heartbreaking in parts and laugh out loud funny in other parts. Wonderful, wonderful stories.
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because if the title - how could you not be intrigued? I was touched by the grandfather who wanted advice on how to improve his families chances for a better life. These are great stories!
Justa Lanie
Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved every one of these stories. Each had an ongoing tension to pull you through the story and each had unique characters that you can't find anywhere else. Great book for anyone who loves Southern fiction.
Pam Marriott
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The voice, the voice, the voice! A true ventriloquist with his characters but the honesty and heart of this author is heard in the placement and sound of every word. A magician of precision in tight, full writing, however impossible that seems! I savored every story. Yummmm!
Jun 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Spotted this book in the book stack at Goodwill. Got my money's worth. Effective title-made me pick it out of a row of books. I've read other books since then, but didn't realize it was the same author until then.
Cassidy Alexander
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Really good stories well written.
Feb 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful language, compelling characters, engaging stories!
Oct 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Interesting short stories. "Easy Pickings" was hilarious.
Nov 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone over 16
Shelves: southern-lit
You'll never really know why you like this book as much as you. But there's a symmetry and poetry that make it a classic.
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Absolutely wonderful, especially the title story.
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Southern short stories. A great and varied collection. Loved it!
Aug 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
We read this for a college class and I remember it being a fantastic collection of short stories. I would draw a comparison between Gautreaux and Flannery O'Connor.
Nov 07, 2010 rated it did not like it
Unfortunately this is not instructional and at no point involves the use of children as flux. I rolled the dice; I lost.
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Timothy Martin Gautreaux (born 1947 in Morgan City, Louisiana) is a novelist and short story writer who lives in Hammond, Louisiana, where he is Writer in Residence at Southeastern Louisiana University.
His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Best American Short Stories, Atlantic, Harper's, and GQ. His novel The Next Step in the Dance won the 1999 SEBA Book Award. His novel The Clearing won the
“I flunked out that semester, but I got my money's worth learning about people that don't have hearts no bigger than bird shot.” 2 likes
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