In NEBRASKA, deceptively simple, compressed language is used by a master wordsmith to portray both the bizarre and the down-to-earth. A psychic troubled by the long-forgotten tragedy in her house’s past; the apparent malevolence of the Blizzard of 1888, which came out of a mild winter’s day to destroy the lives and dreams of many Nebraskans; a hit man stalked by a hopeful successor; a would-be writer disturbed by his descent into suburban futility; a retired lawyer who has found that the golf course, and his passion for the game, transcend the reality of aging--each jewel-like portrait compels the reader onward.
Ron Hansen, whose first novel, DESPERADOES, was acclaimed as “true American poetry,” continues to dazzle his audience with his latest effort. At once disturbing and reassuring, the tales in NEBRASKA elicit an almost visceral sense of recognition--despite, or perhaps even because of, occasional surreal touches, such as a mysterious scaly green creature that is intent upon destroying a farm family’s livestock. In the title story, rural Nebraska’s everytown is brought to life, from Main Street and the tracks of the Union Pacific to the “one crisp, white Protestant church with a steeple” and the sound of the wind rushing through the wheat fields. Hansen’s language, with its resonances and precision, creates a world not easily forgotten.