American Falls: The Collected Short Stories
American Falls is the first major collection of short stories from Barry Gifford, master of the dark side of the American reality. These stories range widely in style and period, from the 1950s to the present, from absurdist exercises to romantic tales, from stories about childhood innocence to novellas of murder and revenge.
In the title story, a Japanese-American motel operator chooses not give up a total stranger, a black man wanted for murder, when the police come searching for him. In "Room 584, The Starr Hotel," a man rants his outrage at an amorous couple in the room next door before he himself is arrested for having committed multiple murders. "The Unspoken" recounts the confessions of a man without a mouth who tells about the woman who loved him. And in this collections longest fiction, a novella called "The Lonely and the Lost," a small towns talented and colorful inhabitants solve their problems as best they can until it comes time for the devil to reap what they have sown.
Dark and light intermix in masterful chiaroscuro, dark becoming light, light revealing sinister or brooding complexity. No simple endings, only happy beginnings.
"Gifford cuts right through to the heart of what makes a good novel readable and entertaining. The way Barry Gifford does it, it's high art." —Elmore Leonard
"Barry Gifford is all the proof the world will ever need that a writer who listens with his heart is capable of telling anyones story." —Armistead Maupin
"Barry Gifford is a great writer, may Heaven and all help him, consequently." —William Saroyan
About Barry Gifford
BARRY GIFFORD’s fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have been published in twenty-eight languages. His novel Night People was awarded the Premio Brancati, established by Pier Paolo Pasolini and Alberto Moravia in Italy, and he has been the recipient of awards from PEN, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Library Association, the Writers Guild of America, and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. His books Sailor’s Holiday and The Phantom Father were each named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times, and his book Wyoming was named a Novel of the Year by the Los Angeles Times. He has written librettos for operas by the composers Toru Takemitsu, Ichiro Nodaira, and Olga Neuwirth. Gifford’s work has appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, Punch, Esquire, La Nouvelle Revue Française, El País, La Repubblica, Rolling Stone, Brick, Film Comment, El Universal, Projections, and the New York Times. His film credits include Wild at Heart, Perdita Durango, Lost Highway, City of Ghosts, Ball Lightning, and The Phantom Father. Barry Gifford’s most recent books include Sailor & Lula: The Complete Novels, Sad Stories of the Death of Kings, Imagining Paradise: New & Selected Poems and The Roy Stories. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information visit www.BarryGifford.com.