Discovering the World: Thirteen Stories - Vasseur. Thomas Jeffrey (2001)
ISBN 9780865547186
Genre Gay Male Fiction
Subject Fiction / Short Stories; Literary Collections / American / General; Social Life And Customs; Southern States
Publisher Mercer University Press
Publication Date May 2001
Format Hardcover (240 x 152 mm)
Thomas Jeffrey Vasseur steeps us in different experiences set in a disappearing rural South, the New South, and the world at large. One of the striking things here is storytelling variety: a little boy discovers the wonder and allure of flight; a ballet dancer from Texas falls in love; a Southern native meets a Vietnam veteran and sailboat builder who takes him to French Polynesia, a Kentucky choir minister adopts a disturbed, trouble-causing son. These tales of passion are full of peril and recurrent awareness of mortality, the gaps that separate all people and threaten to separate them further from those they love. The landscape may be a church in Kentucky, the battlefields of Southeast Asia, the Oregon coast or an airplane in flight. But all of these stories are linked by the theme of self-discovery and the awareness of others, culminating with the title story where a Southern native meets a Vietnam Veteran who takes him to French Polynesia then an island in Fiji to repair a hurricane damaged sailboat. This debut collection devotes itself to sense of place, both personal and collective history, some lyrical and some hard truths about the regions and locales that inspired it. Ultimately, the novella looks closely at our country’s ongoing attitudes toward race, class, spirituality, our globe’s endangered natural environment, the aftermath of the Vietnam war and 1960s as a whole. In its variety of modes and themes—city versus country life, sexual desire and parenthood, our very American pursuit of earthly happiness and our resilient faith in God—Discovering the World: Thirteen Stories is a collection that probes the nooks and crannies of the human heart. Advance Praise "Imagine Joseph Conrad. Imagine Joseph Conrad influenced by Octavio Paz and Reinhold Niebuhr with some of the Southern storytelling gifts of Pat Conroy sprinkled about. Imagine Joseph Conrad with these influences and a good sense of psychopharmacology, Vietnam, and the 1960s. I’m being grand and playful, but Discovering the World is more grand and playful. Though its landscape is primarily American, its vision draws more from European and Latin visions. It has reach. It has spirit. Like its novella’s central character, Robert C. Fitzgerald, it navigates the globe. It discovers. We discover. Read it."—David Kranes, author of Low Tide in the Desert and The National Tree “These stories are some of the most sophisticated Southern stories I’ve ever read. Sophisticated in that the subjects and characters have universal appeal. And what's best about Vasseur is that he can write.” —Janice Daugharty, Pulitzer Prize nominee, and author of Like a Sister and Earl in the Yellow Shirt: A Novel. "Discovering the World is a wonderfully diverse collection. I read one story, marveling at its comic, angry speed, pockets of light and dark like sunlight filtered into a forest, and said: this is Southern. I read another and thought this is Balzac in our century, he quiet surface of ordinary lives belying the frantic crosscurrents underneath. The story ‘Pig Summer’ really blew me away. The stories set in France seem both ancient and radically new."—Debra Monroe, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Fiction, and author of "The Source of Trouble," "A Wild, Cold State" and "Newfangled." "Thomas Jeffrey Vasseur has written stories I have waited to read all my life. These narratives unfold like poems etched on the tender heart of the world. They comprise the brave, agonizing, stubborn, awesome autobiography of us all."—Marita Golden, author of The Edge of Heaven, Long Distance Life, and Wild Women Don’t Get No Blues, founder, Zora Neal Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation "’The Life and Death of Stars’ gives voice to an injured man lying in a hospital bed, entertained by a book about stars as he rethinks his life, his options, and his hard luck. One of the reasons why Southern literature is a distinct national resource is that it takes seriously ‘the pure products of America’ to use William Carlos William’s phrase. These are not loveable losers or defiant rebels; they are hard cases, damaged goods, who to echo Faulkner’s formulation from The Sound and the Fury gain honor because they endure."—Patrick White, Literary Magazine Review
Personal Details
Collection Status In Collection
Index 1708
Rating 0
Read It Yes
Library of Congress
Product Details
LoC Classification PS3622.A85 .D57 2001
Dewey 813.6
Cover Price $25.00
No. of Pages 256