Reconfiguration of Landscapes, no. 2
Etching by jessica ann mills used under a Creative Commons license.

Ladette Randolph, This Is Not The Tropics (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005).
Writing about Nebraska in Salon’s Literary Guide to the World, Meghan Daum says:

In many ways, Lincoln is a small town that has grown too large for itself, its railroading and agricultural roots having given way to McMansions and superstores that now stretch its borders for miles in every direction. But its original neighborhoods, many of which are clustered around the state capitol and the University of Nebraska campus, have a historic feel that manages to be stately and earthy at the same time. It is here that many of Ladette Randolph’s stories take place. In the tense, subtly suspenseful “The Girls,” a college student entrusted with her professor’s dogs discovers a quietly disturbing world inside his house. Another story, “Miss Kielbasa,” plumbs the strange rituals of a small rural town that holds an annual drag queen pageant, all the while examining a young woman’s anxiety over her impending interracial marriage.

Here is a brief bio of Randolph at the Nebraska Center for Writers.  Her website is here, with links and other content.  Randolph was profiled by the Boston Phoenix when she became the editor of Ploughshares.  Google Book Search offers a preview.  Here is the publisher’s description.  This Is Not The Tropics won the 2006 Nebraska Book Award for fiction (.pdf).  Felicia Sullivan says it’s the finest collection she has seen in years, stories that aren’t flashy or over-indulgent, but quiet and subtle and completely heartbreaking.  Randolph was interviewed by Andrew at Emerson College.  Randolph’s essay, “Our Infamous Failure,” is drawn from a memoir-in-progress.  Here is a useful resource for finding other Nebraska authors, courtesy of Meredith M. of the Lincoln City Libraries.  And if you’re in Lincoln and need to find a good book store, this might be the place.

Buy it at Amazon.com.

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