By Robert Pack, Jay Parini
Greater than 3 dozen voices provide varied expressions of the dynamic interplay among lifestyle and the yankee cognizance, and plenty of solutions to the query of ways to "construct a 'self' from the fabrics of existence in our contentious and infrequently incoherent culture."
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Additional info for American Identities: Contemporary Multicultural Voices (Bread Loaf Anthology)
Well, they're not exactly the same," my father said. " He pushed aside his chair and beckoned me to follow. " My mother's voice rang out in a sharp reprimand. " But he was already out of his seat and heading for the living room, where the one-volume OED stood open on a metal stand, exhibited as proudly as if it were the Book of Kells. I fled my mother's reproachful gaze and hurried off to join my father. We stood side by side, feeding at the trough of knowledge. "Let's see," he muttered, running his finger down the page.
Then a story would unfold: Sylvia's son Joey was threatening to drop out of high school and join the Marines; Gladys had finally been forced to put her mother in a nursing home; Sarah's husband, Harry, a professor of engineering at the University of Wisconsin, had quarreled with the chairman of his department. In the back seat, beneath the car's dark dome, I brooded on these dramas. Rivalry, betrayal, disappointment: it was hard for me to reconcile Page 12 the ominous events my mother spoke of with the prim, balding men in their gold-rimmed spectacles and dark suits, the plump women in their flowered-print dresses, their gray hair springy as lichen, who had just been gathered in my grandmother's living room.
The writers in this volume necessarily arrive at different answers to these questions, which are addressed in highly distinct ways in the diverse essays, poems, and stories that we have included here. What all of these authors share is a commitment to their art as a mode of expression which assumes that communication across differences is both possible and desirable. He sat me at their table to show off my English, and when he danced with me, fondling my shoulder blades beneath my bridesmaid's gown as if they were breasts, he found me skinny but pretty at seventeen, and clever.