About the book, A Wall of Bright Dead Feathers
- Publisher: Winedale Publishing
- Pages: 216
- Pub Date: March 1st, 2021
- Categories: Short Stories / Literary Fiction
- Scroll for Giveaway!
Each of the flawed, fully human characters we meet in these twelve stories faces a moment of life-altering transformation. Most are newcomers to the scenic, rolling countryside of central Texas whose charms they romanticize, even as the troubles they hoped to leave behind persist.
A young pianist struggles to keep her emotionally fragile boyfriend alive; a displaced New Yorker’s ambivalence with guns results in two fractured families; an oil man gambles on his estranged daughter’s integrity. The complicated history of this German-Czech region, where the stories are set, anchors the experience of two young artists who make a costly decision in 1862.
In graceful and precise, often lyrical, prose, Fraser Hale immerses us in lives whose superficial privilege provides no real protection against the unexpected.
* * *
When women are alone, unencumbered and unbeholden to anyone, they engage in intense internal reflection and show reverence for nature—and during these scenes, Hale’s language is luminescent (Kirkus Reviews).
Praise for this book:
“Hale shows a great respect for her characters and for the difficulty of their deceptively ordered existence, as well as for the problems they suffer because so much cannot be spoken.” — Francine Prose, on “Silences”
“A vivid set of tales about connection to other people and to the natural world…Hale’s lovely prose shows a keen eye for detail…” – Kirkus Reviews
Buy, read, and discuss this book:
About the author, Babette Fraser Hale
Babette Fraser Hale’s fiction has won the Meyerson Award from Southwest Review, a creative artist award from the Cultural Arts Council of Houston, and been recognized among the “other distinguished stories” in Best American Short Stories, 2015. Her story “Drouth” is part of the New York Public Library’s digital collection. Her nonfiction has appeared in Texas Monthly, Houston City, and the Houston Chronicle. She writes a personal essay column for the Fayette County Record.
Connect with Babette
I love short stories. They really show off an author’s range and adaptability, and when they work, they sing in ways that novels don’t. This collection, A Wall of Bright Dead Feathers, sings in many ways.
Most obvious is the author’s use of language. Kirkus reviews calls it both “precise” and “lyrical” and those are words, I too, would use to describe Fraser Hale’s writing style. She doesn’t just give you text, she wraps her words around you like a cloak and lets you steep in them, experiencing different characters and scenarios.
In this collection, while there was no real connection between the different characters all of the stories included people who were new to Texas, and that choice let Fraser Hale’s writing really shine, because she made Texas itself if not a character, certainly more than a setting, and just as the author’s dialogue was perfect for the various times depicted, so, too, was her vivid description, from the house in the very first story in this book, on through the rest of the tales.
What I appreciated about A Wall of Bright Dead Feathers is that while the stories varied in length, none felt over-long or too short. Some were deeper than others, some were lighter, most involved strong women facing problems, whether they solved them or not, and there is no wrong note in this symphony of stories. If I had to pick a favor, it would be the fourth story in the book – “Silences,” which juxtaposes a mother’s day-to-day life with a husband who isn’t that great, with her son who is adjusting to country life in less healthy ways than she’d like. It opens with a description of morning and “the hum and chortle of birds” and closes with an abrupt, horrific twist, and in between those two things is a perfect example of how seemingly mundane activities can be made fascinating by a writer with talent and skill.
Overall, this is a collection of short stories to savor, the kind that makes you want to fill a bathtub with bubbles, and bring a mug of tea or glass of wine into it with you, while you soak and read.
Goes well with: Black Forest ham, Havarti cheese, olives, and a glass of Topo Chico with lime.
TWO WINNERS each receive a signed bookplate
+ $20 Brazos Bookstore Gift Card to buy the book
(US only. Ends midnight, CDT, 4/2/2021)
Visit the Other Great Blogs on This Tour
Click to visit the Lone Star Literary Life Tour Page for direct links to each post on this tour, updated daily, or visit the blogs directly:
|The Page Unbound
|Texas Book Lover
|Rainy Days with Amanda
|Chapter Break Book Blog
|All the Ups and Downs
|The Clueless Gent
|Hall Ways Blog
|Reading by Moonlight
|Librariel Book Adventures
|It’s Not All Gravy