The Neumiller Stories (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
The Neumiller Stories is a collection of thirteen short stories arranged by date of composition: five from 1964- 1967, five from 1968-1972, and three from 1982-1989. The last three have not been collected before; the first ten, all of which were first published in The New Yorker, were incorporated with significant revisions into Larry Woiwode’s second novel, Beyond the Bedroom Wall (1975). The stories vary in length—from five to forty-five pages—as well as in quality.
What holds the stories together—what makes this more than merely another collection of short stories by a single author—is their focus on one family in various stages of its history in North Dakota and Illinois. No one story spells out all the connections of the various family members to their immigrant roots or to one another, but, taken together, the thirteen stories create a single small tapestry of American family life in the middle of the twentieth century.
The stories do not, however, present a single or consistent family unit: Written over three decades, individual stories change characters and family structure to fit their own needs. Martin Neumiller switches jobs without explanation; Alpha Neumiller dies early, but the number of children she leaves changes from story to story. What connects the stories, instead, is the unity or...
(The entire section is 1202 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
Los Angeles Times Book Review. December 31, 1989, p.3.
The New York Times Book Review. XCIV, December 17, 1989, p.7.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXXVI, September 10, 1989, p.48.
The Washington Post Book World. XIX, December 24, 1989, p.3.
(The entire section is 29 words.)