Cover image for Welding with children
Welding with children
Gautreaux, Tim.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Picador USA, 1999.
Physical Description:
209 pages ; 22 cm
Welding with children -- Misuse of light -- Good for the soul -- Easy pickings -- The piano tuner -- The Pine Oil Writers' conference -- Resistance -- Sorry blood -- Sunset in heaven -- Rodeo parole -- Dancing with the one-armed gal.
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A master storyteller's triumphant, moving collection about lost souls, found love, and rediscovered tradition Tim Gautreaux returns to the form that won him his first fans, with tales of family, sin, and redemption: from a man who realizes his grandchildren are growing up without any sense of right or wrong, and he's to blame; to a camera repairman who uncovers a young woman's secret in the undeveloped film she brings him; to a one-armed hitch-hiker who changes the life of the man who gives her a ride.Each one a small miracle of storytelling and compassion, these stories are a joyous confirmation of Tim Gautreaux's rare and generous talent.

Author Notes

Tim Gautreaux 's work has appeared in Harpers , The Atlantic Monthly , GQ , Story , and the two most recent editions of Be s t American Short Stories . He lives in Hammond, Louisiana.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The 11 stories in Gautreaux's second collection (Same Place, Same Things) are energized by compassion, perception and antic humor, but occasionally hobbled by didactic dialogue and stilted characters. The title story, however, is a gem, a moving tale more subtly styled than many of the others. It centers on Bruton, a working-class grandfather in Gumwood, La., whose four unmarried daughters drop off their kids, "one each," for him to babysit. He's humiliated when his neighbors call his car the "bastardmobile," and horrified to realize his grandchildren know nothing about moral behavior save for what they've gleaned from TV and their parents' bad habits. Bruton emerges as one of Gautreaux's best-realized characters, a blue-collar Cajun railing against changes in the rules by which he was brought up. "Misuse of Light" is another likable story where sentimentality is skillfully managed. A camera salesman develops a 40-year-old roll of film and unearths a family scandal. "Resistance" depicts the tense interplay between an aging neighbor, a 10-year-old whose science fair project is due, and her sullen, rage-filled father. This dark comedy, like the tale of a priest's struggle with booze, "Good for the Soul," is, however, compromised by a contrived conclusion. The title character in "Dancing with the One-Armed Gal" is a hitchhiker with a whiny monologue about identity politics within academe: she's a women's studies professor who's been fired from her post because, as a one-16th African-American, part Mexican, one-armed lesbian, she wasn't marginal enough, and she's now searching for another affirmative-action position. Other characters in this uneven but often absorbing collection bespeak the author's own compassionate engagement with social and ethical dilemmas; his impulse to moralize, however, may make readers feel manipulated. Agent, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In his second collection, Gautreaux (Same Place, Same Things) presents insightful and delightful stories from the heart of Cajun country. Countering the postmodern trends of shifting perspective, authorial presence in the text, and convolutions of space and time, Gautreaux has mastered the illusion of letting a story flow in such a natural way that it seems to tell itself. His economy of language is truly impressive as he creates realistic, multifaceted characters and complex situations in the space of a few pages. While some authors might be tempted to denigrate the down-home denizens of rural Louisiana or render them as caricatures with exaggerated speech or behavior, Gautreaux would rather give the reader the opportunity to inhabit their lives. Only the last story, "Dancing with the One-Armed Gal," contains even the slightest hint of either artifice or judgment. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.ÄJim Dwyer, California State Univ. Lib., Chico (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Welding with Children Misuse of Light Good for the Soul Easy Pickings
The Piano Tuner The Pine Oil Writers'
Conference Resistance Sorry Blood Sunset in Heaven Rodeo Parole Dancing with the One-Armed Girl