Wet Places at Noon
Lee K. Abbott
Winner of Iowa Short Fiction Award
Narrated by Ken Krauss
Approximately 8.5 hours
Book published by University of Iowa Press
“I had been wrong: love was not gone; it had been there, on two legs in front of me, and I, breathless and tongue-tied as an idiot, then stumbled backward from the door, the sidewalk rolling under my feet, trying to say good-bye.” All the men in Lee Abbott's collection of stories are stumbling backward from the door, trying to say good-bye yet still making and breaking promises as the door shuts for the last time—or does it? Castaways on their own turf, Abbott's devil-may-care men are given to spectacular, ruinous acts; contradictorily passive and energetic, they join together to fight their crazed interior and exterior ways.
Abbott's community is pure Americana, a wild world inhabited by gloriously street-smart smartasses: overeducated, underemployed men mourning for the confident women who have left them—or have they?—but knowing that equally confident women are just around the corner—or are they? His urgent, maximalist style allows their exhilarating voices to be heard and remembered.
Lee K. Abbott is Humanities Distinguished Professor in English at Ohio State University. His latest collection, All Things, All at Once: New and Selected Stories, was published in 2006.
“Lee Abbott is a significant American writer, one of our culture's more compelling stylist, an acrobat of the word. Abbott's voice has the familarity of a front-porch storyteller, the voice of the guy in every picture of every high-school prom who has what he wrongly thinks is a firm grip on life and love and from that point thereafter disappears into an unkind world.”
“Lee Abbott is a chief reason we go to the short story for its portrayal of the unannounced life. He celebrates the immensity in each character's moment, and he captures the gorgeous, sassy, and sometimes desperately joyous music with which we enchant ourselves. Wet Places at Noon is a muscular, crafty, and fond collection by a writer who matters enormously.”
“Abbott writes like a fallen angel. These are wild, vibrant stories, caustic and sardonic, wildly funny and bitter as grief, full of passion and perfidy. As his characters crash through burnt-over landscapes and tune into 'the talk talked by worms,' they bring us an odd kind of hope.”