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Waltzing the Cat

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Description

“Fat with meaning . . . tastes oh so sinfully good.” —Washington Post Book World
Ever since the publication of Cowboys Are My Weakness, Pam Houston's fans have clamored for more from the woman with a penchant for the laconic men of the West. Now, in eleven linked fictions featuring a peripatetic photographer named Lucy O'Rourke, Houston serves up once more her charismatic blend of relationships and adventure. This is the story of one woman's struggle for balance in a world that keeps pitching and rolling under her feet. Dislocated geographically and spiritually, Lucy is prone to the wrong decisions at all the critical times; what's more, natural disasters just seem to find her: an accident on a rafting trip in Cataract Canyon, a grand cayman attack in the Amazon, a hurricane in the Gulf Stream-not to mention a few natural disasters in the form of men. A surprise encounter with Carlos Castenada convinces her that she isn't living the right life, and his cryptic message sends her back to her beloved Rocky Mountains. There, on a ranch, she takes comfort in animals, the jagged landscape of Colorado, and the sage advice of women friends; she even gives a man a try. Most important, for the first time she reconnects with parts of herself she didn't remember losing. "Pam Houston taps into our souls," one reader has said. "She could write my diary better than I can."

From Publishers Weekly

Sep 28, 1998 – The winningly forthright narrator of Houston's second collection of interlinked stories (after Cowboys Are My Weakness) is peripatetic landscape photographer Lucy O'Rourke, 33, who persists in falling in love with a succession of men who are wrong for her and in risking grievous bodily harm in adventure sports. Lucy is tossed into raging rapids on the Colorado River in Utah, faces down a grand cayman that almost capsizes her canoe in Ecuador, nearly drowns twice in the waters off the Bahamas in hurricane season and repeatedly tests her courage in other exotic locations. Each change of scene is a search for a home and a man with whom to establish it; each time, she is disappointed anew by neurotic lovers who are afraid of commitment. The unconscious motivation of all her adventures is the little girl she once was, caught between an alcoholic mother and a mean, bullying father. The 13 vignettes from her life, repetitive as they seem initially, move Lucy along a path on which she becomes open to mystical visions: the first is a visitation from Carlos Castaneda, which leads her to settle down at the dilapidated ranch her grandmother has bequeathed to her in the Colorado Rockies. Lucy's troubles are not over at the end of this suspenseful and plaintively appealing book, and her future is not entirely clear, yet the reader finally feels that she has learned valuable lessons that may take her to safe harbor. Houston describes Lucy's sporting adventures with cinematic detail, conveying both her technical prowess and the exhilaration of physical daring. On the other hand, readers may become exasperated at the number of selfish, foolish, posturing men who wander into Lucy's path. Her slow progress toward insight and peace of mind is wrapped up in a mystical epilogue that is rather contrived, but she is such an engaging heroine that one is left wanting to read further chapters in her life. Author tour. Editor, Carol Houk Smith.
Waltzing the Cat
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Aug 29, 2011
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Seller: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, 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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