George Garrett

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 198

[Last One Home Sleeps in the Yellow Bed] was a powerful, energetic, and original collection. Rooke has come (or gone) a ways since then, and The Broad Back of the Angel is very different, being more a unified collection of tales … than one of short stories; being also mildly surrealist in matter and in manner, seeming, in style and vocabulary and syntax, to be like a translation, a slightly incoherent and inaccurate translation of a nineteenth-century Middle European novel; or, perhaps, a French surrealist movie of the late thirties, afflicted with poor subtitles. But Rooke is good at it and knows what he is doing well enough. A couple of tales, "The Third Floor" and "Dangerous Women," are kin to the earlier stories. Perhaps the greatest difference is in the attitude toward character, the possibilities of individual being. It may be what has happened to the world in the decade since The Yellow Bed which has shabbily diminished the strength and dimension of character. (p. 468)

George Garrett, "Coming Out of Left Field: The Short Story Today," in The Sewanee Review (reprinted by permission of the editor; © 1978 by The University of the South), Vol. LXXXVI, No. 3, Summer, 1978, pp. 461-73.∗

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