Cover image for A real man & other stories
A real man & other stories
Boyd, Shylah.
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Publication Information:
Latham, N.Y. : British American Pub., [1990]

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Booklist Review

If Philip Marlowe were alive today--and if he were a woman setting out from the Florida Keys on a recuperative camping trip around America, leaving all that detection behind and having endless first impressions--he would be Faye Nelson, the protagonist in 10 of this volume's 14 stories. The mean streets are the same; the local color is equally convincing--unromanticized and yet absolutely compelling. And the respect between survivors at odds with each other (perhaps Chandler's most endearing quality) is pervasive. The hint of slumming here strengthens the work, usually taking the shape of thinly disguised journal entries (unless the author is extraordinarily deceptive). Nothing much happens (well, Faye does kill some drug runners out to rape her), but Faye's brief encounters are reminiscent of those anyone could have on a long trip, and the reader simply cannot put the book down. The prose is succinct and in the service of a born anecdotalist with a generous view of human nature. --Roland Wulbert

Publisher's Weekly Review

Boyd's story, ``Clean and Gentle Moments,'' won a PEN award and is one of four short fictions in this fresh, exciting collection, which includes the title novella about an unforgettable woman. Faye Nelson is a writer wandering cross-country, making friends of strangers. In her astringently poetic telling, Boyd ( American Made ) ponders an urgent immediacy as Faye shares confidences with a Cajun woman in Louisiana, or awakens in terror when thugs attack her in a Florida swamp. Staying with her every moment of the long trek, readers will feel Faye's joy when she ends the journey in Colorado with Stan, ``a real man.'' Adding to this mix of dangers and delights, the short stories confirm Boyd's power to depict her characters in a vivid three-dimensionality, with flaws and virtues, people to care about and remember. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved