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The Half-Mammals of Dixie

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Description

George Singleton, who's had many stories published in the best literary journals, has recently burst into the big time with appearances in Playboy, Zoetrope, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's Magazine and Book. The stories in his new collection are wild and wooly - or maybe we should say wild and half-wooly. In any case, they're definitely not for the creationist crowd or for the laughter impaired. For example:
- A self-described "primitive artist," getting rich off religious canvases, is mistaken for a faith healer.

- A lovelorn dad woos his third grader's teacher with very special show-and-tells, including long lost love letters to Shakespeare from Anne Hathaway, to Fred Astaire from Ginger Rogers, and to Henry VIII from all of his wives.

- A boy's reputation is ruined forever when he accepts the starring role in a documentary on diagnosing head lice.

Off-the-wall. But also utterly believable and written with tremendous affection for the people and their place-a place called Forty-Five, part of the contemporary South that's far removed from big city Atlanta or proper Charleston and, in fact, much like Singleton's own hometown of Dacusville, South Carolina. As he says of his characters, "They're regular people just trying to get by. Most of them aren't jaded by everyday life, though perhaps they should have been long ago. There are some with physical and mental limitations, but I hope all of them have heart."

They do indeed, just like their stories.

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 12, 2002 – Singleton expands upon the peculiar conceits of his debut collection, These People Are Us, in these 15 offbeat stories. Set mostly around the little South Carolina backwater of Forty-Five, they take on everything from racism to alcoholism to head lice, with plenty of laughs along the way. A hapless father clumsily tries to use his nine-year-old son to win back his high-school sweetheart (now the boy's teacher) in "Show and Tell," sending him off to school with old love notes, corsages and jewelry he had given her and making the boy pass them off as precious antiques. Another father launches a one-man crusade against a racist newspaper deliverer in "Fossils." "What Slide Rules Can't Measure" details the bizarre lives of denizens of the flea market circuit, while the title story follows an aquarium salesman to a bizarre motivational seminar, where he meets a scarred woman who sells audio books to the blind. "This Itches, Y'all" features a boy who fled youthful ignominy as the star of an educational film on head lice, then returns to his 25th class reunion to find unexpected celebrity. As in the first volume, the narrators tend to be relatively sophisticated men (or boys) who find themselves surrounded by feckless "pallet-heads." Some may find the tone of intellectual superiority condescending, but it's usually tempered by self-deprecation, to wonderful comic effect.
The Half-Mammals of Dixie
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Short Stories
  • Published: Aug 12, 2002
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books
  • Seller: Workman Publishing Co., Inc.
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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