Review of Texaners by Jessica Gregory

Review

Reviewed by Jessica Gregory at Sabatoge Reviews for T. F. Rhoden’s Texaners: Eight Short Stories.

‘…those perfectly imperfect souls of expansive, yet common diversity.’
Texaners

What comes to mind when thinking of Texas? What stands out from the jumble of imagery that us non-Texans have subconsciously absorbed from various transmitters? Some montage of the following, I would say: the lonely ranches in the desert with their clanking windmills; the Rio Grande; cowboys silhouetted by the red setting sun; Country and Western music; the Dallas theme-tune; gun-toting, shooting, Second Amendment espousing Republicans; George W Bush; oil fields; all wrapped up in the sweltering Texan heat. And in light of this, this reviewer can readily understand Rhoden’s compulsion to attempt to debunk these stereotypes. As Rhoden himself says:

These stories are about new Texans—new Texaners. These children of the new Texas have no idea, no connection aside from locale, of that Texas of yesteryear.

Instead of cowboys Rhoden is exploring suburban, city, Texan life, particularly from the perspective of those that don’t find themselves apart of the Texan stereotype – the students, the immigrants, the multiracial, the liberal, the artists, among others. Rhoden has cited James Joyce’s Dubliners as a source of inspiration for this collection, and so he has set the bar high when attempting to emulate Joyce’s exploration of place-based identity.

Texaners consists of eight short stories. From the outset we are cast into a world far… [click here to continue to read full text]

texaners

*Review originally published in Sabatoge Reviews by Jessica Gregory; image credit for this re-post via City-Data. Unless otherwise stated, all posts on this website are under Creative Commons licence. 

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Review of Texaners by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

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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Texaners: Eight Short Stories

A new book for all of you bored with the normal Texas stereotype!

Texaners: Eight Short Stories can be purchased through normal book distributors, including Amazon.

Description

None of us wishes to abandon stereotypes if we don’t have to. Their utility is unquestionable. Yet, this anthology cares little about all of that. Occasionally, the sensation of sheepishness often associated with a change in one’s understanding of a place or a time is well worth the trial in self-reflection. This is, of course, occasionally. The Irish apostate James Joyce succeeded in secularizing the term “epiphany” for literature.

The book in your hands now, entitled Texaners, borrows unabashedly from Joyce’s insight. Texaners is, naturally, inspired by Joyce’s Dubliners. Impish errors aside, why else bother really? Earlier versions of some of these stories have appeared in literary magazines. “Oils” appeared in The Monarch Review and Status Hat. “The Gulf” appeared in Foliate Oak Literary Journal. “Drywall” appeared in Microstory a Week. “Airfare” appeared in Weirdyear. “Rooftop” appeared in Black Heart Magazine. The stories “Chinese Spoons”, “The Bat Mitzvah”, and “W Martin Luther King Jr Blvd” are new to this collection.

Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: Etoile Solitaire Press (2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0692512748
ISBN-13: 978-0692512746
Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 6.6 ounces

TEXANERS, rhoden (front cover only)

TEXANERS, rhoden (back cover only)

*Original paperback and ebook copyright held by T. F. Rhoden. Unless otherwise stated, all posts on this website are under Creative Commons licence. 

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