Cover image for Widening the road
Widening the road
Bonnie, Fred.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Livingston, AL : Livingston Press at the University of West Alabama, [2000]

Physical Description:
166 pages : portrait ; 23 cm
Squatter's rights -- Fifty winters -- Piano skirmish -- In search of number seven -- Extreme unction -- Widening the road -- All you can eat night -- Roland Fogg -- Gone with wind-- be back soon -- Sign language -- The cookie trick -- The race for last place -- Nick the Russian -- Selling delphinium -- Screwdriver.

Format :


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Fred Bonnie's previous collection, Detecting Metal, was included in Booklist's Top of the List for 1998. We believe that you will find this collection as deserving. Bonnie is a writer who's not afraid to use plot in his stories, and he is a writer who is clearly on constant lurk for character and characters. His stories convey a delightful sense of humor wherein the protagonist is often enough hoisted by his or her own petard. These stories combine two previous Canadian-published collections, Squatter's Rights and Displaced Persons. Mr. Bonnie has revised all the stories, which will appear in America for the first time in book form.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

The new books from ace short story writer Bonnie actually frame his last five, increasingly remarkable books. A rethinking and vast expansion of a story in Food Fights (1997), Thanh Ho Delivers is Bonnie's first novel. Widening the Road presents 15 stories from Bonnie's earliest two collections, all rewritten and, he hopes, improved. Both books showcase Bonnie's virtues of clear exposition, tangy realization of place and characters, and choice of nonintellectual, nonprivileged protagonists. Thanh Ho is a Vietnamese boat person, dispatched by her father at the fall of Saigon to pioneer the U.S. for the family. Bonnie alternates chapters beginning a year after her hurried, frightening departure from her homeland with chapters about her initial immigrant ordeals and adventures. Eventually, persons from her past, in particular a young doctor whose life she saved on the boat out of Vietnam, crop up in America, where she has opened a pizzeria in Birmingham, Alabama. Any given chapter in the book is a pleasure to read, but they add up to less than the length of the novel promises, so that the happenstance of reencountering the doctor, for instance, seems rather contrived. As for the revamped old stories, they are good enough, especially "Squatter's Rights," about an old man trying to hold onto his autonomy, and "Selling Delphinium," about a small town boy's encounter with rich New Yorkers. If they aren't as good as anything in the splendid Detecting Metal (1998), well, how could they be better than Bonnie's best? --Ray Olson