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The Roy Stories

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The Roy Stories by Barry Gifford
Paperback $16.95
Oct 01, 2013 | ISBN 9781609804978

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  • Oct 01, 2013 | ISBN 9781609804978

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Praise

“Complete with road trips, baseball lore and local yarns, The Roy Stories is as American as apple pie and the punks that nabbed it from your windowsill.” Time Out New York

“Gifford, a master of the short story and nasty vignette, can sum up in a few words the cruelty, horror, and crushing banality that shape an entire life.” The New York Times Book Review 

“The way Barry Gifford lets people talk articulates everything about their unfamiliar inner lives, and ours.” The Boston Globe
 

“Gifford is a master.” Los Angeles Times
 

“Gifford cuts right through the heart of what makes a good novel readable and entertaining. … The way Barry Gifford does it, it’s high art.” —Elmore Leonard
 
“Barry Gifford invented his own American vernacular–William Faulkner by way of B-movie film noir, porn paperbacks, and Sun Records rockabilly” —Jonathan Lethem

“Gifford is an anomaly in both his influence and recognition. His prose is as straightforward as it is avant-garde, and can turn an ashtray into a flower petal right there on the page.” —Sarah Wambold, Arts and Entertainment
 

“Like Hemingway, Saroyan, Kerouac, and Salinger… Gifford has a style. He is a great comic realist who does with the turn of a phrase what a Zen master does with a brushstroke. Gifford is an original who has seized the still-live vein of that American realism which began with Mark Twain.” —Andrei Codrescu, National Public Radio

Table Of Contents

CONTENTS

Preface………………………………………………………….. 15

The Vast Difference………………………………… 17

Alligator Story ………………………………………………………………….. 19 
The Vast Difference………………………………………………………… 25
The Birdbath ……………………………………………………………………. 29
Real Bandits …………………………………………………………………….. 33
The Red Stuebaker ………………………………………………………. 36
The Trumpet……………………………………………………………………..40
Unspoken …………………………………………………………………………. 44
Haircut ………………………………………………………………………………. 48
The Invention of Rock ’n’ Roll………………………………………… 51 Infantry……………………………………………………………………………… 54
Drifting Down the Old Whangpoo………………………………..57
The Wicked of the Earth………………………………………………..60
Christmas Is Not For Everyone…………………………………….. 63

Memories from a Sinking Ship………….. 65

Memories from a Sinking Ship ……………………………………… 67
A Good Man to Know……………………………………………………..70
The Forgotten …………………………………………………………………..73
Mrs. Kashfi………………………………………………………………………… 76
The Old Country……………………………………………………………… 79
The Monster ……………………………………………………………………… 81
The Ciné……………………………………………………………………………. 82
Dark Mink …………………………………………………………………………. 86
Nanny ……………………………………………………………………………….. 89
Island in the Sun ………………………………………………………………. 91
An Eye on the Alligators ……………………………………………….. 94
The Piano Lesson…………………………………………………………….96
The Lost Tribe………………………………………………………………….. 97
The Lost Christmas………………………………………………………….101
My Catechism………………………………………………………………….103
Sunday Paper ………………………………………………………………… 106
The Origin of Truth ……………………………………………………….. 108
The Trophy………………………………………………………………………..112
The Aerodynamics of an Irishman………………………………..117
A Rainy Day at the Nortown Theater…………………………..119
Renoir’s Chemin montant dans les hautes herbes ……. 121
Forever After ………………………………………………………………….. 122
The Mason-Dixon Line……………………………………………………125
The Wedding ………………………………………………………………….. 128
The Pitcher ………………………………………………………………………129
A Place in the Sun……………………………………………………………131
The Winner………………………………………………………………………133
The God of Birds ……………………………………………………………. 137
Sundays and Tibor………………………………………………………… 140
Poor Children of Israel …………………………………………………..143
The Man Who Wanted to Get the Bad Taste
of the World Out of His Mouth……………………………….145
Johnny Across…………………………………………………………………148
The Secret of Little White Dove…………………………………..154 
The Delivery…………………………………………………………………….158 
The Deep Blue See ……………………………………………………….. 160 
Radio Goldberg ………………………………………………………………162
Why Skull Dorfman Went to Arkansas……………………….166 
Wanted Man…………………………………………………………………….170
10 the roy stories
The Bucharest Prize ………………………………………………………. 174 
Blows with Sticks Raining Hard……………………………………177 
The Chinaman ………………………………………………………………….181 
The End of Racism………………………………………………………….183 
Way Down in Egypt Land……………………………………………..187 
Bad Things Wrong…………………………………………………………..191 
Detente at the Flying Horse………………………………………….194 Shattered………………………………………………………………………….198
A Day’s Worth of Beauty ……………………………………………. 200 
The Peterson Fire…………………………………………………………. 204 
Door to the River …………………………………………………………. 206 
Sailing in the Sea of Red He Sees a
Black Ship on the Horizon……………………………………….210

Wyoming……………………………………………………. 213

Cobratown ………………………………………………………………………. 215
Chinese Down the Amazon…………………………………………..218 
Bandages …………………………………………………………………………219 
Soul Talk …………………………………………………………………………. 223 Skylark…………………………………………………………………………….. 225 
Flamingos ……………………………………………………………………….228 
Wyoming …………………………………………………………………………230 
Saving the Planet…………………………………………………………..232 
A Nice Day on the Ocean ……………………………………………. 233 
Perfect Spanish………………………………………………………………235 
Seconds ………………………………………………………………………….. 237
Roy’s World…………………………………………………………………….239 Nomads…………………………………………………………………………… 242 
Ducks on the Pond………………………………………………………..245
Sound of the River…………………………………………………………247
Red Highway…………………………………………………………………..249
Lucky ……………………………………………………………………………….. 251 
K.C. So Far (Seconds/Alternate Take)………………………..253 
Concertina Locomotion………………………………………………..255 
Imagine ……………………………………………………………………………256
The Geography of Heaven……………………………………………258 
Man and Fate ………………………………………………………………… 260
Where Osceola Lives…………………………………………………….262 
The Crime of Pass Christian…………………………………………264 
Cool Breeze…………………………………………………………………….267 
Night Owl………………………………………………………………………..269
Islamorada ………………………………………………………………………270
On the Arm…………………………………………………………………….. 273 
Look Out Below…………………………………………………………….. 275 
The Up and Up……………………………………………………………….277
Black Space…………………………………………………………………… 280
Fear and Desire………………………………………………………………282
God’s Tornado………………………………………………………………..284

Sad Stories of the Death of Kings…. 287

The Age of Fable……………………………………………………………289 
The Great Failure…………………………………………………………….291 Irredeemable………………………………………………………………….. 293 
Sad Stories of the Death of Kings ………………………………296 
The Sultan………………………………………………………………………300 
The Liberian Condition ……………………………………………….. 304 
Six Million and One………………………………………………………..307 
War and Peace…………………………………………………………………311
Chop Suey Joint ……………………………………………………………..314
Significance …………………………………………………………………….. 318
Einstein’s Son………………………………………………………………….320 
The Albanian Florist………………………………………………………324
The Weeper…………………………………………………………………….328 
The Swedish Bakery……………………………………………………….331 
The Man Who Swallowed the World………………………….335 
Ghost Ship …………………………………………………………………….. 340 
Caca Negra……………………………………………………………………..343
Roy’s First Car………………………………………………………………..347 
El Carterista…………………………………………………………………….350 
Crime and Punishment …………………………………………………354 
The American Language………………………………………………357
Lonely Are the Brave …………………………………………………… 360
Force of Evil……………………………………………………………………364 
The Choice………………………………………………………………………367
Bad Girls ………………………………………………………………………….. 371
The Sudden Demise of Sharkface Bensky…………………376 
Portrait of the Artist with Four Other Guys…………….. 380
The Starving Dogs of Little Croatia……………………………383 
In the Land of the Dead………………………………………………..387
The Secret of the Universe…………………………………………..389
Far from Anywhere ………………………………………………………..391
Rain in the Distance ………………………………………………………395
Bad Night at the Del Prado………………………………………….398
The Theory of the Leisure Class ………………………………… 403
Innamorata ……………………………………………………………………. 406
The Exception ………………………………………………………………. 409
Close Encounters of the Right Kind ……………………………413
Blue People ……………………………………………………………………..418
Call of the Wild …………………………………………………………….. 420
Arabian Nights ……………………………………………………………….424
Last Plane out of Chungking……………………………………….426
The Vanished Gardens of Córdoba…………………………….428
Benediction …………………………………………………………………….429

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