The Green Suit: Stories
Dwight Allen University of Wisconsin Press, 2011 Library of Congress PS3551.L39223G74 2011 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
This edition of Dwight Allen’s acclaimed story collection, The Green Suit, ends with a new story, rounding out a dozen interlinked tales about a well-to-do Kentucky family called the Sackriders. The stories cover a period of forty years, from the Vietnam War to the Age of Foreclosure. Chief among the Sackriders is Peter, son of a judge and a vitamin-pill-popping mother, brother to a sister whose troubles with boys take her far from Kentucky. He is a writer perhaps more in love with women (and, intermittently, men) than he is with words, whose eagerness to be loved leads him into alarming circumstances. He is a man with a yearning for transcendence and a penchant for betrayal.
The new story finds Sackrider in his mid-fifties, married for a second time, the father of a small child, and all tangled up with his next-door neighbor, an artist who likes to use the corpses of animals in his collages.
Welcome to Midvale, a city of liberal-minded (but not too liberal-minded) folk in the heart of Wisconsin. Midvale is home to Oliver Poole, lanky and gray-haired father of four sons, husband of Diana (a prominent divorce lawyer), left fielder for an over-the-hill softball team called the Old Hatters, and sole proprietor of a typewriter repair shop (a trade that one of his sons compares to singing folk music on the street and waiting for someone to drop a nickel in the hat). Midvale is home, too, to Annelise Scharfenberg, a thirty-something, sugar-craving, aspiring Buddhist who works as a late-night music-and-gab-show host at a fringe radio station. When Annelise, a collector of old-fashioned things, walks into Oliver’s shop bearing a typewriter scavenged from an alley, a romance ensues, with consequences both comic and tragic. Set during the early years of the Iraq war, The Typewriter Satyr is flush with colorful characters, including a Syrian coffeehouse owner who believes the Bush government is after him, a Buddhist monk who grew up in rural Wisconsin, a painter known as the Rabbit Master, and a homeless writer who roams the streets of Midvale in search of a missing shoe. In The Typewriter Satyr Dwight Allen has created a world that, as the novelist Michelle Huneven notes, “speaks to the powerful tides of longing and loneliness surging through all of us.”
Honorable Mention, Anne Powers Book Length Fiction, Council for Wisconsin Writers