Cover image for Nude in tub : stories of Quillifarkeag, Maine
Nude in tub : stories of Quillifarkeag, Maine
Wuori, G. K.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1999.
Physical Description:
xiii, 273 pages ; 19 cm
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Here is G.K. Wuori, out of nowhere and wielding a deadly weapon: his vision of our's the raw.

Wuori fiction is something entirely and wildly its own. Like Thomas Pynchon, Robert Coover, Mark Richard, Lewis Nordan, Wuori doesn't care to mollycoddle the reader. He's here, in this daring debut collection, to reflect what's on his mind: America's fascination with violence, with sex, with racism, with joyful immortality.

Set in the northernmost corner of Maine, in a town "usually omitted from cheap maps," Nude in Tub is about a young couple who make love on La-Z-Boys in the middle of a highway, about an old woman who finds a pine tree growing from her leg, about newlyweds who paint their whole house black and themselves white, and about several more stripped-down others, including, of course, a nude in tub.

Descendants of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburgers, Wuori's Quillifarkeagans are Americans at the millenium, good citizens whose reality has been tweaked, twitted, quirked, smirked and found to be grimly goofy. These people - each of them caught in their own startling moment of nakedness - all live by the same credo: If you're in trouble, we'll help. But we'll still laugh like hell.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Looking for quaint, folksy tales about life in a small Maine town? Read something else, for these sometimes gruesome and often disturbing stories constitute a startling look at rural life. Wuori vomits up a collection of dysfunctional characters and bizarre circumstances as captivating as they are revolting. Like onlookers at a road accident, readers may find themselves having difficulty turning away, even though their stomachs are churning. Lust, passion, violence, sex, madness, murder, revenge, and despair--they are all here, in great measure, in the lives of Frank Terrible and Jenny Rain-and-Patch, in the affairs of town clerk Liselle and her would-be lover, Pearson, in the antics of local hero Quitno Bled. Yet in spite of the extreme nature of these stories, Wuori's characters are not the monstrous caricatures one might expect. They are all undeniably realistic and even sympathetic. Consider the book full of them a morbidly intriguing foray into the darker parts of the psyche. --Bonnie Johnston

Publisher's Weekly Review

By ancient or calculated violence, the peculiar characters of Wuori's first collection of stories seem always to be shooting themselves in the foot (or the eye, or the arm, or the laid-bare heart). Residents of Quillifarkeag, a town so far north in Maine that Quillifarkeagans "stare off into the nearby nothingness of Canada, a nothingness that had the appeal of the back door to a house where a domestic dispute was going on," the people Wuori presents in these 18 candid shorts act from the gut. The attitude expressed by Claire, the intelligent young protagonist in "Parents" who is leading Stephen King around the abandoned factory where years ago her janitor mother slaughtered umpteen co-workers, echoes through the collection. Resolute and unsentimental, she says: "I think sometimes killing just has to happen, that there's a sloughing off of something and a molting into something else." In "Revenge," Johnny and Janice get the best of the thieves who rob their gas station and rape Jan by demanding more than just an eye for an eye. Love creeps in among all the brutality, as in "Nude," in which the town clerk comes to accept an awful tragedy through his unreciprocated feelings for his boss, the mayor, Liselle. When these stories fail, it is because their brevity leaves too much untold, relying instead on the power of eccentricity. But when they succeed, which is more often the case, it is on account of Wuori's strong taste for the out-of-whack and his considerable ability to render the depravity of humankind with humor and good will. Author tour. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Family an excerpt from Nude in Tub: Stories of Quillifarkeag, Maine by G.K. Wuori It was an educated crew-that family-that went wild outside of Quilli, the man starting out as a professor at the tiny state university in town, his wife and four kids wanting to live out somewhere, way out, an old way in a new time. "This is Maine," they said, and listed it all: heavy coats, woodstoves, lakes and rivers frozen by Christmas, moose, wolves, even eagles. The wife said, "I'm going to relearn French." The children went Pow! Pow! Pow! *** During his first day of staff orientation he was told: Don't go living out somewhere. It won't be what you think. That afternoon they closed on a farm forty miles from Quilli, well beyond St. A de P. Leaving the bank, the man, Catullus Fender, bought the first ax he'd ever owned. His wife bought five kerosene lanterns and a kerosene can. Her name was June. *** June was amazed when she told her oldest child, a boy, that she'd help him hook up the television and the boy said they-the kids-were more interested in learning how to chop wood and bring water up from the well. "Let's get a book on plants," she told her husband, "and a book on wildlife. Maybe a book on the stars? I've never seen such clear night skies." The next day, as Catullus was driving home from school with the books on plants and wildlife and stars that he'd bought at Don's Grocery in Quilli, he saw his oldest daughter walking alone on their dirt road. She was carrying something, or mostly dragging it. "What do you have?" he asked her. "It's a fox," she said. "I hit it with a stone." "You killed it with a stone?" "I strangled it while it was knocked out." "Oh." "Can we eat it?" "I don't know. I'll have to look it up." *** Once a week the dean would ask Catullus how things were going and he would say they were going fine. His students-the dean had heard this-thought he was a great teacher. He had a full beard in hardly any time at all and June stopped shaving, too. Bit by bit, he told people, they were opening doors into the past. *** June was schooling the children at home, which gave her comfort as winter came on. No bus rides into an icy ditch for her kids. Nor Catullus-he arranged for a room in Quilli with an old retired man named Bill. He stayed there only when the weather was bad. When Catullus told Bill where they were living and that they were trying things the way they used to be, Bill, who was eighty-six and recently widowed, said, "Are you nuts?" *** They lost their first child that winter, an accident. Snow had banked up to the second floor of one whole side of their house. Their youngest child, a little girl, went upstairs and opened a window to slide down the snow. She closed the window behind her and took a great joyous leap outward and sank down into the fifteen-foot drift. When the dean asked Catullus if there was any word yet, Catullus, as stiff in his face Excerpted from Nude in Tub: Stories of Quillifarkeag, Maine by G. K. Wuori All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.