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Kittredge s collection of short stories sparked my interest because, being quite familiar with the literature of the South, I had always wanted to read about the rural West I was not the least bit disappointed.Some people might be turned off because of the short stories brutality and incessant pessimism While it might be true, it s impossible to deny the fact that each of these stories has its unique atmosphere you get soaked into the world that Kittredge tries to recreate for you in minute Kittredge s collection of short stories sparked my interest because, being quite familiar with the literature of the South, I had always wanted to read about the rural West I was not the least bit disappointed.Some people might be turned off because of the short stories brutality and incessant pessimism While it might be true, it s impossible to deny the fact that each of these stories has its unique atmosphere you get soaked into the world that Kittredge tries to recreate for you in minute detail His pessimism is of special, existentialist quality He deals with difficult subject matter in a natural way, almost taking it for granted This serves as the basis for the tone of his voice distant, painfully graphic, in your face and stripped of unnecessary detail Still, his minimalist narrative is quite unlike that of Raymond Carver or Ernest Hemingway, as Kittredge, though maintaining his undertoned voice and almost barebones text, pays a lot of attention to objects and activities weapons and shooting them, cars and driving them in unspoilt wilderness native to the places and the people he describes, to facilitate a better understanding of the culture.His topics are varied, his characters diverse, but death is always there, hanging around or directly involved, like the only natural outcome of any conflict he describes This omnipresent power overlooks people doing their usual things loving, hating, having arguments with the authorities, quarrelling with each other, going mad, losing their closest ones Kittredge s verbal painting of the West is indeed dim His people drink and get entangled in illegal activities and crime by doing so, they drown the sorrow and misery of their existence, or escape from the hostile environment These people may be different as far as their background, origin, or even ethnicity is concerned, but they share the common burden of lingering their days out with no obvious purpose There are those who have lost their children, parents, siblings the inevitability of loss is the very definition of these people s lives Yet there is another common issue that ties them together the lack of understanding, compassion, or communication Kittredge s characters are all outsiders who seem to be living apart from other people They have dysfunctional families and soured relationship Un Surprisingly, in the world of Kittredge s, there is simply no society to speak of, as there is no sense of a communal living of any kind This is a strictly dog eat dog environment, where people purposely break connections between each other be it bonds of family relationship, or work, or community in order to be alone Their aloneness, however, will always lead to loneliness, but by the time they come to realise it, it will have become too late Death waits for no man, for death has no interest in people s mundane chores and petty arguments When one s time is up, the others will have to face the consequences of one s passing Those who remain will never be able to make amends, and their words of remorse will forever be unsaid.The only story that stands out is the eponymous one, which serves as a strong conclusion of the collection for it gives a tiny bit of hope and optimism While maintaining the grim tone of the preceding tales and having perhaps the two most most disturbing opening paragraphs I have ever read, it deals with reunification rather than division The family couple are still going through a difficult stage, where their relationship is marred by mutual misunderstanding the accident which spurs the interaction between the husband and the wife is utterly terrifying, but there is a strong feeling that they need each other despite anything However, after so many years of seclusion they don t know how to handle their passion for one another the one takes to lying, the other is mutilating himself, and they have grown so cold hearted that they substitute aggressive behavior for years of unrealised affection and desire After the act of killing that brings them together again, will they be able to save this spark and learn how not to be alone Kittredge leaves this question unanswered just as many other questions that he raises Great stories of the West Like Carver, he draws literature out of sometimes lowly circumstances Title story is a great one and one that will have resonance for anyone in the region who remembers the Glacier Park bear attacks it s based on. Grim. An amazing collection of short stories from a writer who always deservedattention than he got Alternating between hard and heartbreaking, this is craft writing. Strong medicine, these stories. Stories of the West Hardscrabble stories written with tenderness Evocative of Annie Proulx. |Download Book ♖ We Are Not in This Together: Stories ☸ Eight short stories portray the struggles of ordinary people to cope with the problems of life in the contemporary American West His essays and memoir are epic These stories, not so much.