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Deliver Me from Nowhere [Paperback]

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Item description for Deliver Me from Nowhere by Tennessee Jones...

In 1982, Bruce Springsteen departed from an upbeat rock and roll sound to release Nebraska--- a spare, haunting piece of storytelling populated by deadbeats, desperadoes, and the poor souls unfortunate enough to fall in love with them. In Deliver Me from Nowhere, the shadowy folk fables of Springsteen's masterwork are reimagined in starkly beautiful short stories that trace a proud but perilous journey into the racial and sexual badlands of Middle America. An unnamed girl takes a dangerous older lover and is whisked into an interstate killing spree. A transgendered man attempts to go home after years of absence and wonders what his family will think of him. As these restless characters traverse arbitrary borders both internal and external, they question the possibility and even desirability of redemption.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   157
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5" Height: 7.5"
Weight:   0.38 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 10, 2005
Publisher   Soft Skull Press
ISBN  193236059X  
ISBN13  9781932360592  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > General
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > United States

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The Things Forgotten  Nov 9, 2005
The characters in DELIVER ME FROM NOWHERE are sick, sick of themselves, sick of the broken promises of America, and sick to death of the violence that pervades our rusty and misshapen air. Based on ten songs by Bruce Springsteen from his 1982 LP Nebraska, these stories depart from Springsteen's lyrics in numerous ways, some of them significant. For example, in "Nebraska" the story the basic outlines of the Starkweather-Fugate murders remain the same, but Jones changes the narrator from Charles Starkweather himself to Caril Ann Fugate--here stripped of a name, as though to signify that in 1950s America women had better hold on to every thing they've got. The killer is called George here . . . for reasons unclear, but it's terribly suggestive. Switching narrative genders, as it were, brings the story back closer to the female-centered (and narrated) film version BADLANDS (1973), directed by Terrence Malick, in which the homicidal pair were called "Kit" and "Holly," another pair of androgynous names. Sissy Spacek played Holly, and spoke the most banal lines while Malick's irony-saturated imagery tore holes into the screen.

Jones is equally skilled. His language is stripped down like a fine machine, glistening with oil, but he knows how to rise to the occasion, when only a swatch of the lyric will save the day between tedium and shock. Reading this collection put me in mind of the Faulkner of "Barn Burning" and the crazy, irrational swerves of James Purdy's 50s and 60s storytelling. It seems to me that the stories get better the further away they get from Springsteen's lyrics. In "My Father's House" a farmgirl grows up, transitions and changes from a girl to a man, and returns back home to confront the haunting specter of the father. The boy, now called "Caleb" in sort of a parody of a country name, reflects on the spirit of masculinity that had united the two, father and son, even back in the day when he had passed as a she. Caleb thought the father would recognize and acknowledge this tie--a fatal miscalculation, one born of a wildly frenzied naturalism. "Caleb stared up at his father, blood running fown his chin from a broken nose."

The tale just gathers heartbreak like a rolling stone. "This loneliness stretched out and convered him, like the shadows of the clouds he remembered from childhood. A person's heart will pound for the things he thinks he has forgotten." Finally Caleb learns how to live with his own knowledge of his own life, his own times, and the hormones in the needle. "Some experiences," reflects the narrator, :are so far from universal that talking about them makes them seem even smaller." How important the word "seem" in the last-quoted sentence! How important the smallest detail in Jones' triumphantly mournful debut of short fiction.

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