Genre: Short Stories / Literary Fiction / West Texas
Publisher: Midtown Publishing, Inc.
Date of Publication: May11, 2017
Number of Pages: 206
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Characters in the eleven stories in Nowhere Near act in ways that some might call “divinest madness.” Some of them have been pushed near their limits by years of stress. Others mourn and grieve and discover feelings they can’t admit aloud. A sense of duty drives another to believe in aliens, at least for a while. Some of their behavior is simply laughable, other flirts with death, and the rest ranges from dangerous to near heroic. These characters vary widely, yet all have in common that they live in or come from West Texas, where spaces are wider and tolerance for strangeness seems just a bit greater. Whether readers agree these characters are nowhere near crazy, they may admit they all are doing what humans do—what makes sense to them at the time.
Praise for Nowhere Near:
“Teddy Jones writes about plainspoken people whose lives are entangled and wrought and marked by routine—routines they cherish, routines they wish to escape—and who glimpse, now and again, a sense of something beyond their ability to reason. The stories in Nowhere Near are deep, honest, and unsentimental, and they pierce you to the bone.—Robert Boswell, author of Tumbledown & The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards
“There’s so much goodness in these stories, the kind of goodness that grows out of characters who endure hard lessons leading them to revelations and deep understanding. You’ll find real people here, with real heartaches and mistakes and regrets. With language as true as music, a steady and perceptive eye, and at times a blazing humor, Teddy Jones creates fully imagined and realized worlds. Subtly, she makes strangeness ordinary and the ordinary strange. You will recognize the people in this book the way you recognize your own neighbors and friends and co-workers and family: full of annoying quirks and surprises and, finally, a saving grace.”—Eleanor Morse, author of White Dog Fell From the Sky
“Teddy Jones is the real deal. With her characteristic wit and goodhearted characters, Jones draws a bead on West Texas life as it’s currently lived. Her precise ear for the rhythms of life and language guides the reader confidently from dry land farming to the double life of dreams and secrets. These stories stuck with me and left me wanting more.” –Summer Wood, author of Raising Wrecker
Short stories can be tricky because the author sometimes drops readers into the middle of a story and then pushes them out again just as quickly, without the satisfaction of closure. While Teddy Jones does this with the stories in Nowhere Near, she does it with style, talent, and perfect characterization. The characters in these stories are authentic in all their broken glory.
Each story is a snapshot of reality in West Texas, mainly about getting older, struggling with loss, or trying to figure out relationships. Even though they are short, the stories are so well developed that the end of each one takes you by surprise and leaves you wanting more, naturally, but pondering each story’s possible direction and outcome as well.
While all the stories are thought provoking and well written, the one that resonates the most for me is titled The Woman with a Miniature Donkey. Edith deals with the loss of her sister and discovers she didn’t really know her at all, making me think of the people I love and how I don’t always cultivate my relationships with them and then wonder why I don’t really know these people or wonder if they even know me.
While the main emotion throughout this collection is one of sadness, the lasting impression at the end of each story is one of thoughtfulness and a firm resolve to be fully present in the lives of friends, family, and strangers alike.
Enter the giveaway below for some fabulous prizes, including a signed copy of Nowhere Near by Teddy Jones.
Teddy Jones has been a nurse, nurse practitioner, university professor, college dean, and occasional farmhand. She grew up in a small north Texas town, Iowa Park, and gained college degrees in nursing at Incarnate Word and University of Texas, a Ph.D. in Education at University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. She held nursing, teaching, and administrative positions in Austin, Denver, and Lubbock and as a family nurse practitioner in Texas and New Mexico. Writing fiction was her “when I know enough and have the time” dream all those years. Now she and her husband live near Friona, in the Texas Panhandle, where her husband farms and she writes full time.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
One Grand Prize: Signed copies of both Nowhere Near and Jackson’s Pond, Texas, set of 10 hollyhock notecards, and a 11×15 print of the cover art from Jackson’s Pond.
1st Runner-Up: Signed copy of Nowhere Near + choice of notecards or print
Next Three Winners: choice of notecards or print
May 11-20, 2017
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|5/16||Excerpt||The Page Unbound|
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