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My Father’s War

My Father’s War: Stories of Midwestern Men

Copyright Date: 1991
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    My Father’s War
    Book Description:

    In this collection of stories, Barton Sutter shows us all the ways in which we are shaped by our surroundings. With an unswerving gaze, he portrays the rituals of growing up that we all experience, no matter how old we think we are.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9215-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. 1-24)

    Mark flung a final shovelful of cement into the mixer and stuck the spade in a pile of sand. “She’ll be done soon!” he hollered at Elmer, who was knocking the forms off a fresh burial vault. Elmer nodded and coughed. Like Mark, he wore a red bandanna across his face. The air inside the Sunwall Brothers’ Vault Company was heavy with fine gray dust. By the end of the day his lungs felt so thick that more than once as he sank into sleep Mark had imagined his lungs were hardening, slowly turning to concrete. Still, it was the...

    (pp. 25-56)

    Back in high school I decided Iowa was nowhere, so I went East to college and, after graduation, moved to Boston, where I found a job as an editorial assistant. The hours were long and the pay was low, but, by doing free-lance work on weekends and living in a miserable apartment, I managed to pay off my college debts and save a thousand dollars. For the first time in my life I had enough money to buy a car. Then I got the good news that I’d won a fellowship to graduate school. Except for Sandy, the woman I...

    (pp. 57-94)

    The trip on which we almost drowned was Dick’s idea, but he didn’t have to argue very hard to get Bud and me to go along. We had four days for Thanksgiving break. “Plenty of time,” Dick said. “We drive up Thursday, canoe down Whiskeyjack to that little creek we found last summer, camp right there. No need to bust our butts. Then we’ve got two whole days to shoot some pictures, walk the creek, and generally putz around. You with me? We break camp early Sunday, and we’re back in time for a good long snooze before classes Monday...

    (pp. 95-124)

    My Granddad Hackbart was a big old bastard, six feet tall and heavyset, with a chest like an overstuffed suitcase. He was fat, but he didn’t look fat. His hair was thick, and he brushed it back in a silver pompadour. His forehead was high, his cheeks were pink, and his eyes were a scary blue. He was a handsome man, but it didn’t do him any good, because everybody in Bessemer knew he was cranky and drank like a large-mouthed bass. When my Grandma Hackbart died, there wasn’t a widow in town who would even consider him. He couldn’t...

    (pp. 125-154)

    The dog showed up just as Jack and Abby were getting ready for Europe. Jack had started cleaning out his studio that afternoon. It was only a Wednesday, but Abby came home from work looking as if she’d barely survived a bad Friday, so Jack suggested they drive into town for dinner and drinks. After her first glass of scotch, Abby began to revive. Faculty politics left her pale and depressed, but, as the only woman in her department, she felt duty-bound to participate. “It’s a good thing there’s only a week left in the term,” she said. “I’m so...

    (pp. 155-258)

    It’s Christmas, and we’re all snowed in, trapped here with our parents. The rain we ran into near Red River Falls quickly turned to sleet and then to fat, wet flakes that clogged the windshield wipers. We just made it. The radio says a foot with more to come. We’re going to be stuck here for days.

    I can predict what will happen. At first we’ll enjoy being stranded, all our plans and schedules canceled. We’ll feel free, as if we were kids again, and school had been called off. We’ll be babbling, trading stories, nibbling divinity and fudge and...

  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 259-259)