Fifteen stories and the sixth story collection by Jerry Bumpus, the unique and celebrated master of the short story form, and the author of the much acclaimed novel ANACONDA. Twenty-four of Bumpus’s 121 published stories have been anthologized and taught in colleges from New York to San Diego. His stories and novels model the weirdness of not just our species but all species of every sort, including giant spiders and flying pigs. If a critic had to pick a dominant theme that the author obsessively explores, that theme might be: life is absurd. This is the author as fans have come to know him: bedrock real one moment and shifting sands unreal on the page opposite. Some of his characters have one foot in here-and-now certainties, while the other foot toes the lunacies of a dream, revealing tenuous connections between bizarre behavior and pure accident and the oddities of unforeseen collisions between minds conventional and minds caught in a maelstrom. Bumpus is sui generis, inhabiting a class all his own. Prepare to be delighted. Prepared to be astonished.
About the Author
Jerry Bumpus is Professor Emeritus at San Diego State University. He holds a BA in English from the University of Missouri, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa. He has published 121 stories, 24 of which have been anthologized. He has also published five story collections and two novels. His third novel has been brewed and is in the final stages of polishing. His work has appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, The Best American Short Stories (1974 and 1975), Tri-Quarterly, The Iowa Review, and dozens of other respected journals.
I think of Jerry Bumpus as a king of the underground writers. I treasure a rare copy of his novel Anaconda,and have taught the story collection, Things in Place, to graduate writing students. Jerry Bumpus has a following; of it I am a devoted member.
—Vance Bourjally, author of Brill Among the Ruinswhich was nominated for the National Book Award
We are chilled as we shift in and out of various hostile places—mental wards, forests; or that we may confront a vicious dog who finally outwits us. [Bumpus] is masterful at arousing laughter and then drawing us in with a shaft of unexpected power. Most of the stories are, finally, conundrums, in the way that Borges’ best fiction is. But Bumpus is no Borges — he is entirely himself, and stunningly so.
— Robert Peters, author of Song for a Son and 30 other books
Jerry Bumpus has an eye for freaks. His place is American space, mainly the modern Southwest and Midwest: highways, motels, diners, used car lots, golf courses, cabins in the woods. There he unleashes his monsters, watching them settle the territory.
— The New Republic
Jerry Bumpus is one of those extraordinary writers whose imagination is never dull … His vision will shock, surprise and intrigue you.
— Diane Wakoski, winner of the William Carlos Williams Awardfor her book Emerald Ice
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