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192 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1992
She sighed and looked down, rubbing her eyes. She leaned against the doorjamb. “Sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing here,” she said.
“None of us do,” I said. “Most people around here are just waiting to die.”
“That’s not funny, Junior.”
“No, but what’s funny is, everybody gets up awful early anyhow.”
Worst thing I ever did was outlive my wife. Women live hard here. It ain’t that men have it easy, I got a brother had a tree fall on him logging the woods, but women just don’t get the off-time a man does. Anymore, there’s not much left for me but waiting on winter, then waiting on spring. Time piles up like brush. You burn it in the fall and all you remember are the glowing cinders. I got ash heaps everywhere I look.
Not a one on this hillside finished high school. Around here a man is judged by how he acts, not how smart he’s supposed to be. I don’t hunt, fish, or work. Neighbors say I think too much. They say I’m like my father and Mom worries that maybe they’re right.
And later:I wouldn’t mind talking to somebody of another color but they don’t ever come around these parts. Nobody does. This is a place people move away from.
Neighbors say I think too much.
This story, to me, represents what might have been for the young narrator, as well as for the rest of the stories.
Unfortunately, the final story wasn’t one of the best in the collection. It fell somewhere in the middle.
“Kentucky Straight,” published in 1992, was Offutt’s debut. In 1999, he published his second collection of short fiction, “Out of the Woods: Stories,” and it has also received a high rating and positive reviews on Goodreads.
Of course I haven’t given up on Offutt and I will be reading “Out of the Woods” and anything else he writes.
«Sparate per uccidere», diceva, «non fate le cose a metà. Se alla quinta carta ne avete tre dello stesso seme, passate. Non regalate mai niente a una donna. Se fate a pugni colpite sempre per primi».