Cloth $22.95 | 0-8156-0850-0 | 2006
In this remarkable collection, Rick Henry takes the simple events
of small-town life and transforms them into richly poetic stories
brimming with emotion.
This debut collection includes four short stories and a novella, all set in rural New York around the turn of the 20th century. Henry’s subjects are ordinary people; his stories shine with careful description, and the situations are fresh
and original. His regional slice-of-life vignettes portray a quiet alienation beneath the confining patterns of rustic American life, an alienation transcended by Lucy, the novella’s title character. She is a woman who gleans joy from
the abundance and beauty of farm life, even though her most heartfelt intimations seem to come in the town cemetery, where one by one the citizens of her village are laid to rest. The novella is reminiscent of the novels of Willa Cather in
both character and theme, although readers may intuit a touch of postmodernism in the disjointed metaphors and freak happenings that consistently unfold. This collection is useful for classroom analysis, since the stories and novella can
be easily critiqued according to standard conventions of literary fiction.
Lucy's Eggs: Short Stories and a Novella is a collection of four stories and a novella, all set in Homer, a town in upstate New York that is both particular and universal in its representation of small-town life. Rick Henry’s vivid characters, at once intimately familiar and wholly unique, are combined with masterful narration to deliver a series of stories the reader will not soon forget.
Set in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the title story chronicles the life of
Lucy Delano as she bears witness to the dramatic changes that her small town confronts. Fiercely independent and deeply connected to the land, Lucy endures the loss of her parents, desertion by her husband, and alienation by the "townsfolk." Through Lucy’s blend of strength and vulnerability, Henry powerfully explores issues of individuality, loneliness, and grief.
In The Telephone Girl, a young man struggles to act on his emotions for Mimi, the telephone girl of the title. His paralysis, naïveté, and repression are deftly treated with humor and poignancy. Cardinal Wars details the competition between two neighbors to attract birds, specifically, colorful cardinals, to their backyards. For both women the birds represent the desire for companionship and survival, a bright, warm blast of color during the long, bleak winter.
Filled with energy and life, each story depicts vivid images of rural
life and the deep but subtle range of human emotion. Henry’s lyrical, often elegiac, prose is evocative of Thornton Wilder and William Kennedy. This book will appeal to the general reader but especially to those with an interest in regional literature.
View other regional New York State books
Rick Henry is an associate professor
in the Department of English and Communications at SUNY Potsdam. He has published numerous short stories in The Connecticut Review, Between C & D, Short Story, and other literary journals. He is coeditor of The Blueline Anthology, also published by Syracuse University Press.
5 1/2 x 8 1/2, 168 pages