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Hardly working
Thorman, Richard.
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Publication Information:
Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, 1990.
Physical Description:
128 pages ; 23 cm
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Tells the stories of individuals who have been forced to reexamine their attitudes toward pride, friendship, change, marriage, and revenge.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

A collection of short stories that have distinguished previous-publication credits. Not surprising, since Thorman has an embellished, unambiguous, direct prose voice, and its sheer simplicity delivers an even keener edge to the poignancy upon which the stories hinge. For instance, in the title story, set in western Virginia (Thorman's usual setting), Buddy Campbell works for Clay Dixon, as does Buddy's whole family; Clay is the local tycoon--and the father-figure in Buddy's life. In a short span of time, Buddy comes to a cold--but mature--realization about Clay: "A small man in a small town." Thorman's sense of pathos, his ability to draw the reader's heart as well as mind into his characters' lives, is achieved not only through his great capacity for empathy but also by the purity, the unclutteredness, of his style. The other five stories in this fine collection follow suit. --Brad Hooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

The six stories in this collection are redolent of their rural West Virginia settings, a world of tenant farmers, cheating husbands, small-time entrepreneurs and hardworking poor. Thorman ( Backman's Law ) handles the complexities of human relations with wit and delicacy. Bitter humor fuels the satisfactory conclusion of the title story, wherein a would-be entrepreneur in the fish business discovers that it is feet of clay his erstwhile mentor has encased in his tight cowboy boots. Poignancy dominates the mood in two other stories: ``Family Man,'' where we see a cheating husband take leave of his pregnant girlfriend; and ``The Stradivarius,'' with its double theme of loss by death and betrayal. This latter is especially memorable for the subtle evolution of a simple musician's rage into charity and inner peace. Lively, engaging personalities confront the familiar complications of life in these entertaining tales. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Reading a collection of previously published short stories is like cooking with kitchen-tested recipes: satisfaction is virtually guaranteed. This is the case here since five of these six stories have been published in such journals as The Virginia Quarterly and The Sewanee Review. Although Thorman is a bit heavy-handed with his themes, his characterization is impeccable. It is impossible not to get involved with characters like Billy Floyd, whose kin ``never amounted to squat,'' and Alma Beauchamp, who ``comes down pregnant.'' These rural Virginians are distinctly Southern, definitely delightful, as familiar as our own Aunt Agnes. Since regional flavor is fast becoming a thing of the past, it is important to document it while we can. These stories do so lovingly and humorously.-- Dorothy Golden, Georgia Southern Coll., Statesboro (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.