She Loves Me Not: New & Selected Stories

Ron Hansen, Author
Ron Hansen. Scribner, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4516-1758-0
Reviewed on: 09/10/2012
Release date: 11/13/2012
Audio Product - 978-1-62406-074-8
MP3 CD - 978-1-62406-073-1
Hardcover - 369 pages - 978-1-4104-5729-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-62406-069-4
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4516-1760-3
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Hansen (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) is best known for historical novels so well researched and faithful to recorded fact that they’re barely fiction at all—and at first glance the stories collected here stick to the formula. In “Wilde in Omaha,” Oscar drops choice rejoinders on his American tour; the Polish priest of “My Communist” flees the cold war for sunny Palo Alto; “The Governess” and “The Killers” are knowing take-offs on Henry James and Ernest Hemingway. But in this edition, which draws on Hansen’s 1988 collection Nebraska, we’re treated to the full range of the author’s Midwestern pathos, from the fast-talking gear heads of “Mechanics” and the shocking cattle mutilations in “True Romance” to the title story’s unattainable showgirl, who presides over a grisly murder. Then there are the really strange pieces, like the prose poem “Crazy” and the masterful, sweeping “Nebraska,” as poetic a portrait of place as you are likely to read. Hansen turns out to be at his best when he’s free from the tent poles of plot, precedent, or even character. He deserves a collection like this to give readers the full vent of the desolation that lurches out of his landscapes and blows like a cold wind into the lives of his hapless Americans. Agent: Peter Matson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Nov.)
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