A review by Lisa Brown-Gilbert from Pacific Book Review of T. F. Rhoden’s Texaners: Eight Short Stories, published by Étoile Solitaire Press (2015).

Engaging and insightful, Author T. F. Rhoden’s incisive collection of short stories, Texaners, leads fiction readers into the world of the multicultural, multiracial denizens of contemporary Texas. No stranger to the literary world, author Rhoden has authored other well-received works, however this is his first published collection of short stories, which bears influences from his personal experiences growing up as a citizen in multiracial, contemporary Texas.

Unapologetically stereotypical at times, this collection of eight stories is varied in perspective as the many cultural and ethnic backgrounds of each character are colorfully portrayed by the author. Each story portrays an emotionally intricate variation on life by exploring brief moments in the lives of ordinary Texans. And consequently, it is through the varied lives of author Rhoden’s characters that readers are shown the real Texas of today, the younger, multiethnic face of Texas, not the old dusty, cowboy infested world, but a brave new world where the boundaries set by stereotypes are either diminished or enslaving to the character’s psyche.

Each piece is generally likable, fortified by the use of vivid imagery, curious characters and emotional vagaries that play out fairly well. Every story is a glimpse into ordinary lives that are distinctly portrayed by bringing into perspective a moment of clarity in each protagonist’s life that essentially captures those rare ephinanic moments in a life when personal realization comes to consciousness.

The stories that I found particularly well written and compelling were “Chinese Spoons”, “Oils”, “The Bat Mitzvah”, and “West Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd”… [click here to continue to read full text]

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*Book review originally published in Pacific Book Review by Lisa Brown-Gilbert for Texaners: Eight Short Stories by T. F. Rhoden; photo credit for re-post via How to Feed a Loon. Unless otherwise stated, all posts on this website are under Creative Commons licence. 

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