Shiloh, and Other Stories (Magill's Literary Annual 1983)
Short stories by Bobbie Ann Mason have been appearing in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Redbook, North American Review, and elsewhere during the early 1980’s. The sixteen pieces assembled in her first collection of short fiction are even more impressive when read as a group. They are unified by a strong sense of place, by a particular kind of character, by a firmly individual voice, and by themes and feelings that are universal.
The place is western Kentucky, sharply realized through concrete particulars of food, social custom, and speech. Paradoxically, the specific details also make the setting familiar to many readers, because Mason uses them to supply context rather than local color. Her western Kentucky is not a museum of hillbilly life and quaint tradition, but a locale that might be found almost anywhere beyond the urban centers of America. It has Kmarts and bowling leagues, Tupperware and matched sets of furniture, and flea markets on third Mondays. People rent their houses; they think about going to Florida or Arizona. The primary timepiece is not the sun or the clock but the television set: visitors drop by in the middle of “The Waltons,” and Christmas dinner is cooked during “Days of Our Lives.”
The people are working men and women: truck drivers, bus drivers, carpenters, clerks at Rexall or Kmart or Krogers....
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1983)
Arnold, Edwin T. “Falling Apart and Staying Together: Bobbie Ann Mason and Leon Driskell Explore the State of the Modern Family.” Appalachian Journal 12, (Winter, 1985): 135-141. This article attempts to show how a male and a female writer approach the theme of family differently by comparing Mason’s Shiloh stories with the works of another Kentucky writer, Leon Driskell. This article is especially valuable to the investigator who wishes to study Mason as a feminist writer.
Giannone, Richard. “Bobbie Ann Mason and the Recovery of Mystery.” Studies in Short Fiction 27 (Fall, 1990): 553-566. In a focused analysis of Mason’s characters, Giannone is concerned with the reaction of Mason’s characters to the situations in which they find themselves. In most cases, the characters find themselves without clear answers at the end of their stories.
Los Angeles Times Book Review. December 5, 1982, p. 12.
Nation. CCXXXVI, March 19, 1983, p. 345.
The New Republic. CLXXXVII, November 1, 1982, p. 36.
The New York Review of Books. XXIX, December 16, 1982, p. 38.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXVII, November 21, 1982, p. 7.
Newsweek. C, November 15, 1982, p. 107.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXII, September 17, 1982,...
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