Item description for Lives of the Artists by Dennis Vannatta...
Throughout this collection, Dennis Vannatta combines artwork and storytelling to distill them into a core matter---the human comedy. He also peppers in his authorial persona by inserting anachronistic forays into the Vietnam War, thus pushing storytelling's envelope a step further. His stories run from the first cave artist and cave storyteller (who must tell a captivating tale or be killed by hunters), through a modern aluminum siding salesman whose amorous obsession for an art historian traps him on an academic panel discussing the Mona Lisa. This salesman must also weave a story before the panel of strangers or lose---not his life certainly, but all self-respect. Both caveman and salesman inject emotion into their stories, to find redemption. Just so, Vannatta's authorial persona injects Vietnam throughout the collection as if to say that story-telling can heal even the grossest of wounds: war.
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More About Dennis Vannatta
Dennis Vannatta has published stories in many magazines and anthologies, including THE QUARTERLY, ANTIOCH REVIEW, and PUSHCART XV. Two earlier collections were published by White Pine Press: THIS TIME, THIS PLACE (1991) and PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD (1994). He currently teaches English at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.