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!FREE EPUB ⚖ Geister, Cowboys ♃ Zehn Geschichten, die den Mythos des amerikanischen Westens ganz neu erz hlen und dabei eine eigene poetische Kraft entfalten Sie spielen vor der gewaltigen Landschaft Nevadas, unter dem weiten Himmel ber der W ste, in der Glitzerh lle von Las Vegas und in entlegenden Geisterst dten Und sie handeln von Menschen in existenziellen Situationen, Verlassenden und Zur ckgelassenen, Suchenden und Verfolgten This author shows some definite promise, provided she can manage to sort out her verb tense schizophrenia She doesn t shy away from dicey material In the first few stories, she revels in the strange and the forbidden, with stories about abortion, incest, a gay male madam at a Nevada brothel, and kids who ran with Charlie Manson The last few stories are a bitcommonplace, but still edgy, because edginess is the petri dish from which her stories evolve Most of these stories are set in Wat This author shows some definite promise, provided she can manage to sort out her verb tense schizophrenia She doesn t shy away from dicey material In the first few stories, she revels in the strange and the forbidden, with stories about abortion, incest, a gay male madam at a Nevada brothel, and kids who ran with Charlie Manson The last few stories are a bitcommonplace, but still edgy, because edginess is the petri dish from which her stories evolve Most of these stories are set in Watkins s home state of Nevada I spent my formative years on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, on the California side, but very close to the border with Nevada I have some familiarity with the geography and vibe of Nevada, which Watkins captures perfectly Her stories grow from that boredom and restlessness and just general weirdness of life in a barren landscape, where there s so little to do but stir up mischief and go a little crazy Two complaints First, wandering verb tense makes me tense Second, I felt cheated by the way some of the stories ended Short stories are often like outtakes from a full length film It takes some real skill to leave the reader satisfied while ending a story in media res Watkins has yet to master that skill, but she certainly has the potential to do so Stunner.I guess the first order of business would be Watkins dad, who was that cult member Watkins who rolled on Charlie Manson Now, my own father had a pretty crazy life and cultivated some strange, ever changing, some would argue paranoid schizo views over the years, but I can t even imagine what it would be like to know that at some point before you were conceived, your father harbored white supremacist beliefs and honestly thought that the end of days and the fate of all mankind had been Stunner.I guess the first order of business would be Watkins dad, who was that cult member Watkins who rolled on Charlie Manson Now, my own father had a pretty crazy life and cultivated some strange, ever changing, some would argue paranoid schizo views over the years, but I can t even imagine what it would be like to know that at some point before you were conceived, your father harbored white supremacist beliefs and honestly thought that the end of days and the fate of all mankind had been foretold on a British pop rock album featuring a song about beating off in public debatable, but I m sticking to that interpretation In either a spirited decision by the author to address the elephant in the room outright, or a less well meaning push by Watkins publisher to exploit her murder celebro status, the first story dives right in to what it s like to be That Girl, the kid of the crazy who worshiped the super crazy, constantly being contacted by crime o philes, bored housewives, and Lifetime Movie producers who want to strip you bare and juice your life story out of you What it s like to know that your father spent years humping every lost teenage girl in sight, and that you may just may have random siblings out there, twenty years your senior, Spahned Manson pun Too soon on an old movie set in some hallucinative, trashy faux Roman bathhouse scene Suck.So if you were wondering, it s there, and it opens up a strong and diverse collection of mostly first person stories from different time periods about societal flunkies trying to connect or understand themselves or find meaning in someone else usually to no avail , getting into or learning to cope with coming out of varying degrees of shitty situations I want to pick out favorites, but there isn t an especially weak story in the bunch, and that is damned impressive from a debut effort If I were pressed, I d say Man O War is the strongest story, but that could also be a biased decision based on my specific, most recent tastes it concerns a lonely old man whose wife left him years before after losing their child, who comes across an abrasive if not plucky teenager covered in bruises from her boyfriend attempting to bare knuckle abort the child in her own belly, per her request The story consists of a few vignettes regarding their brief time together with her hidden away in his house on her own invitation, and the stirring of old and forgotten feelings of hope and family and companionship in the previously resigned fellow Well, you know how these things go, and the buildup and resolution are heartbreaking and tonally perfect and just so, so good There s not a lot that makes me as viscerally sad as the notion of old, lonely, well meaning, salt of the earth types, which I acknowledge is ridiculous based on how truly fucked up the world is, but I can t help it The idea of some sad old man eating beans from cans every day and remembering when, just clinging to his circular thoughts about some love of his life from decades ago, with no one to talk to but a busted old hound dog just hollows me out, emotionally And that s not necessarily a bad thing.This review is going nowhere, so I ll close it up by saying 1 this collection rules, 2 I strongly recommend it if you re the short story lovin type who wants to see some of the cool stuff new authors are doing with short form realism, and doing well and 3 please write a novel, Claire, pleaseplease Oh, and 4 don t bother the kids of fucked up people with your bullshit prodding and stalking and dickbag emails, like they owe you something for being born Don t be That Asshole Quite frankly, I did not like a lot of these stories They were filled with young, obnoxious characters that I wanted to slap characters who always seemed to have money, though they never seemed to work, who didn t appreciate the good things they had and who made stupid, stupid choices Looking at the author s photo, I reasoned, eh, she s young She ll get better Her writing, after all, is solid and nuanced She throws off great lines like The mind is a mine So often we revisit its winding, u Quite frankly, I did not like a lot of these stories They were filled with young, obnoxious characters that I wanted to slap characters who always seemed to have money, though they never seemed to work, who didn t appreciate the good things they had and who made stupid, stupid choices Looking at the author s photo, I reasoned, eh, she s young She ll get better Her writing, after all, is solid and nuanced She throws off great lines like The mind is a mine So often we revisit its winding, unsound caverns when we ought to stay out That line was from The Diggings, the one story that left me gobsmacked A gold rush tale, so wrought with emotion and so packed with powerful imagery, I ll never forget it At 60 pages, this one was almost twice as long as any other tale in the book This makes me think that Watkins really shines in a longer format, and makes me all thedrooly with anticipation for her new novel, Gold Fame Citrus Quiet battleI read Watkins s stories compulsively I couldn t stop or look away though I often wanted to With Watkins longing is a constant state of being She writes with starkness that s reflected in the desert settings Sometimes her stories are set in the old west and sometimes the west of last week There s quietness to them Hatred, lust, and desperation swirl under the surface and only erupt intermittently Even in the seemingly sweetest of settings and situations sudden violence or even Quiet battleI read Watkins s stories compulsively I couldn t stop or look away though I often wanted to With Watkins longing is a constant state of being She writes with starkness that s reflected in the desert settings Sometimes her stories are set in the old west and sometimes the west of last week There s quietness to them Hatred, lust, and desperation swirl under the surface and only erupt intermittently Even in the seemingly sweetest of settings and situations sudden violence or even death is stalking, threatening to explode Her characters are perpetually off balance while they strive for wholeness and beauty The odd thing is they seem to achieve it if only despite the ugliness surrounding them or maybe because of that ugliness It can be hard to survive in the desert but if you look in the right place and with the right frame of mind you ll see you re surrounded by beauty and sometimes truth This is how women go to war when they have no other choice This is how Cormac Mcarthy might write if he were a woman.This review is based on an e galley provided by the publisher Ten powerful stories by a tough lady Once you know whom Claire Vaye Watkins father was, it is impossible to forget that fact and you re not surprised that she tells stories that are consistently tough and hard She moves through time, such as the story of the two unlucky golddiggers, but also tells tales which, I would imagine, are close to her own life and past and that of her family and friends Most stories are set in Nevada in and around Reno, such as the heartbreaking story of the Italian Ten powerful stories by a tough lady Once you know whom Claire Vaye Watkins father was, it is impossible to forget that fact and you re not surprised that she tells stories that are consistently tough and hard She moves through time, such as the story of the two unlucky golddiggers, but also tells tales which, I would imagine, are close to her own life and past and that of her family and friends Most stories are set in Nevada in and around Reno, such as the heartbreaking story of the Italian kid visiting a girlie ranch The stories are mainly about loss and how one reacts to it I loved them Someone just asked me How did you learn to read poetry It s a great question It really is Because I didn t know the answer, but at the same time there s a skill to pick up somewhere.By that same token, I have to wonder if people struggle with short stories because they don t know how to read them The poetry is a question I have to think over, but for the short stories I have an idea.Short stories are the serial monogamy of reading.For those who aren t familiar with that term and just don t Someone just asked me How did you learn to read poetry It s a great question It really is Because I didn t know the answer, but at the same time there s a skill to pick up somewhere.By that same token, I have to wonder if people struggle with short stories because they don t know how to read them The poetry is a question I have to think over, but for the short stories I have an idea.Short stories are the serial monogamy of reading.For those who aren t familiar with that term and just don t feel like working it out, serial monogamy is the idea of dating someone exclusively, dating people one at a time, then moving on to someone else without crossover or any of this dating around business It s like serial killing You kill someone, then you move on You kill one person at a time, not a bunch of people all at once.I wish I d come up with a better comparison than serial killing It can be hard on the heart, but serial monogamy isn t a death penalty crime just yet.To enjoy short stories, it helps to be a serial monogamist A short story might hurt your feelings It might leave way before you re ready Even still, you have to be able to read as if, just maybe, this time the story will last It ll be the short story that turns into the novel that turns into your favorite book you read over and over You have to learn enough about yourself to say that it s okay to be in lovethan once Maybethan once in a single day And just because you ve been in love before doesn t mean your new love doesn t mean as much.The good thing about being a serial monogamist is that you get to datethan one really great person You get to know them and the best things about them You don t waste a lot of time on people you don t really like because you re kind of looking for somethingthan a person you can tolerate long enough to figure out why you REALLY hate them There are a lot of good things about serial monogamy.The bad thing, the really bad parts, are the parts where the relationships end Those are hard They re hard because you re involved and the people mean something to you It sthan a fling, but somehow it s not all as epic as a dissolving marriage There s no lawyers to see or houses to divvy The good thing about the short story version is that the short story doesn t have feelings It s a break up at the last word, and it s okay for that breakup to be all about you, the reader How sad you are to see this story go How hurt you are it ended the way it did.The other bad thing, the other worst part, is being strong enough to pick up the next story and read it like you didn t just have your heart broken.If you have struggles with short stories, try thinking like a serial monogamist Let yourself fall for characters even when you know they won t stick around It might be the only chance you ve got of falling for the right one Battleborn , a debut collection of short stories, gets its title from the nickname for Nevada which was given statehood during the Civil War Claire Vaye Watkins wrote the short stories soon after she started graduate school in Ohio, feeling homesick for her home state of Nevada and grieving for her recently deceased mother.Watkins gets her family history out front in the first story, Ghosts, Cowboys , which is mostly historical with a bit of fiction Her father, Paul Watkins, was Charles Mans Battleborn , a debut collection of short stories, gets its title from the nickname for Nevada which was given statehood during the Civil War Claire Vaye Watkins wrote the short stories soon after she started graduate school in Ohio, feeling homesick for her home state of Nevada and grieving for her recently deceased mother.Watkins gets her family history out front in the first story, Ghosts, Cowboys , which is mostly historical with a bit of fiction Her father, Paul Watkins, was Charles Manson s associate and lured high school girls to the ranch for Manson Her father was not involved in any of the killings Tate La Bianca and later testified for the prosecution Paul Watkins died when the author was six, and her mother remarried.Watkins grew up in a small desert community an hour west of Las Vegas The desert figures into several of the stories In The Past Perfect, the Past Continues, the Simple Past , an Italian youth spends his time drinking with a prostitute at a brothel peacock farm while authorities search for his best friend who is wandering lost in the desert without water The Digging , set in 1849 during the gold rush, also has some tense desert moments, as well as frigid times in the mountains It shows one man driven to madness due to emotional disappointments and a lack of luck panning for gold.In Rondine al Nido a woman remembers leading her inexperienced friend to a degrading, traumatizing sexual encounter in Las Vegas In The Archivist a heartbroken woman saves the things her ex boyfriend left behind to create the Museum of Love Lost Man of War shows an older lonely man who rescues an unconscious pregnant Mexican teenager The Last Thing We Need involves a man whose traumatic memories are stirred up when he finds pictures of a 66 Chevy Chevelle left at the site of an auto accident.The ten short stories have a strong sense of place the arid desert, a muddy lake bed, an apartment in Reno, a brothel, and the glitzy casinos Many of the characters are lonely or troubled, but there are also flashes of dry humor that lighten the stories Claire Vaye Watkins has written a strong set of short stories set in the West Battleborn is by far one of the best short story collections I ve ever read Each story took my breath away with the strength of the prose and the momentum of each story, often quiet but building and building Several of the stories made me cry by the end because they were so beautiful and so powerful and I was in such awe I will sayin an actual review somewhere but this is outstanding Also, there s a real diversity of narrative techniques at work here From a craft perspective there is Battleborn is by far one of the best short story collections I ve ever read Each story took my breath away with the strength of the prose and the momentum of each story, often quiet but building and building Several of the stories made me cry by the end because they were so beautiful and so powerful and I was in such awe I will sayin an actual review somewhere but this is outstanding Also, there s a real diversity of narrative techniques at work here From a craft perspective there is a great deal to admire There is an epistolary story, a historical novella, a story about two teenage girls who have a troubling encounter with some men in a Vegas hotel room, a story about a couple where the wife is always disappointing her husband and knows it and has to live with it, and then there are the stories about motherless sisters holding on to each other as best they can, stories so tender and evocative they feel both strong and fragile at the same time Each story in Battleborn is better than the one it follows which is, considering the excellence of each story, quite a feat This is a fine collection of stories about life in the West, most of the stories set in contemporary times, though there is a superb novella, The Diggings, that takes place during the Gold Rush Watkins scrappy, hard nosed vision cuts against the hopeful cultural mythology that has for so long shaped America s predominant conception of the West when you re unhappy, you can pack up and head west, leaving all your troubles and responsibilities behind This dream of the West is largely absen This is a fine collection of stories about life in the West, most of the stories set in contemporary times, though there is a superb novella, The Diggings, that takes place during the Gold Rush Watkins scrappy, hard nosed vision cuts against the hopeful cultural mythology that has for so long shaped America s predominant conception of the West when you re unhappy, you can pack up and head west, leaving all your troubles and responsibilities behind This dream of the West is largely absent in Battleborn, except in The Diggings, where the narrator ultimately comes to see the dream s emptiness, concluding after long travail that California was an Ophir, not an Eden Even while concluding this, the narrator nonetheless acknowledges wistfully that in looking back there was something heroic and thrilling in his and his brother s quest for gold, as it gave their lives, at least for a while, purpose and meaning They were in a sense, as he says, Argonauts, even if ultimately failed ones.The dreams of Watkins contemporary characters are similar but smaller in scale these characters, rather than following the overarching American Dream of the West, are merely trying to bring some meaning and a sense of wonder into their largely forlorn lives Their efforts are mostly doomed if not downright self destructive, ushering in at best only momentary joy Most come to see that in their deliberate attempts at happiness hitting the road, going out drinking, etc they are merely pretending, hoping that pretense will lead to something real It doesn t, at least not in any grand way These are the funny, empty things we do, concludes one character, so we can be the kind of funny, empty people who do them Another character, slightlyhopeful, finds momentary joy during a largely disheartening road trip with friends We drink and watch the sun dissolve into the Sierras, and for a small sparkling moment, we are who we once were That s about as good as it gets for Watkins characters.Admirers of Richard Ford s Rock Springs will find lots to like here, as there is a shared vision of the hardscrabble West in which lots of people are down and out rather than up and coming