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What Gets Into Us

What Gets Into Us

Stories by Moira Crone
Copyright Date: 2006
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  • Book Info
    What Gets Into Us
    Book Description:

    InWhat Gets Into Us, the new collection of short stories by Moira Crone, a curious child discovers that some believe "the gods who made this world didn't make it right, and they are terribly sorry about it." A nine-year-old girl is the only one who realizes that her mother's mental illness has put the family's survival at stake. A shy African American woman confronts evil directly in a terrifying act of love. A teenage orphan replaces a wayward son in a privileged but unhappy family. A young carpenter decides that if his baby is going to be born right, he will have to commit a crime and build the world anew.

    Fayton, North Carolina, is a rural town in which everyone knows everyone else's business. Crone explores this fictional landscape and its inhabitants from many angles. The stories follow the lives of men and women who grew up together in Fayton. Full of memorable characters from several generations, this story cycle evolves into a chronicle of a region and its characters. Through it, Crone meditates on the mix of history and spirit that shapes souls and creates community.

    From the perspectives of its various protagonists-white and black, male and female, young and old-we watch as Fayton comes to deal with the charged issues of race, feminism, southern traditions, and the unforeseen changes wrought by economics and technology.What Gets Into Usis a powerful story cycle that resonates as deeply as a classic novel.

    Moira Crone is the author of the novelPeriod of Confinementand two collections of short stories. Four of her stories have appeared inNew Stories from the South: The Year's Best. This collection includes her novella, "The Ice Garden," which won the 2004 William Faulkner/Wisdom Prize.

    eISBN: 978-1-62103-875-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-6)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 7-8)
  3. The Ice Garden
    (pp. 9-59)
    Claire McKenzie

    You could see it in her eyes, he told me—her gaze was more translucent, more liquid. What he wanted me to see was the proof she was better. And I was trying to see it.

    She came from the past, from a time when people could be more exaggerated, he said. Yet she would catch up. She could be modern, his Diana, now that she was home from the hospital. She would live with us again, be our mother. It seemed to me to be all he talked about.

    In part, she was more willing to please. She did...

  4. White Sky in May
    (pp. 60-67)
    Lily Stark

    One time before, we saw heaven. I’m not telling a story.

    Then, this May on a Saturday, I took my red bike to Claire’s. We stood outside. High as a tower, their fir. Me and, beside me, Cookie. We leaned my bike on the trunk. The earth below, smooth, burgundy brown, smelled like Christmas. All the girls on the block had married Cookie for pretend one time or another. But he kept with me the best. He knew to look out, to not wag his tail, even. We came down to see why Aunt C was keeping Cheryl Ann Sender...

  5. Mr. Sender
    (pp. 68-88)

    If you wear a mohair sweater with just about nothing underneath, your daddy will come out on the porch cocking a shotgun. This proves he cares about you. I am eleven years old and I know this for a fact.

    Mr. Sender is out there, next door. But Cheryl Ann keeps walking, no matter. It’s her reputation that concerns him, I am sure. She goes to her fellow, who is leaning on an Impala at the curb, his arms folded. It is December. Mr. Sender says, “Come back here.” I hear him from my bedroom. The fellow holds out a...

  6. The Odd Fellow
    (pp. 89-108)
    Tim Carter

    It was the first day at Fayton High in 1964. The dark-eyed boy in homeroom seemed to know him. “You the one Mrs. Sender took in? The orphan? What’s that like?” he asked. “I always wondered.”

    Eventually, Tim told Bit Cobb all about the Clarksboro Home where he was raised. The children had to wear white shirts to public school, so they were marked, called “the odd fellows.” The Odd Fellows were like the Elks, just ran the place, but people over in Clarksboro could never remember that. Bit, who was really Benedict, told him he knew the difference between...

  7. It
    (pp. 109-123)
    Claire McKenzie

    The place was decent-sized, and very new. The reception area had magazines for women, the ones about clothes and houses. There was a blue carpet, and we were high up for a suburban building, on the fourth or fifth floor. We were north of the city, in White Plains. There was little noise inside or outside, except the highway down below, which roared.

    Tim, who looked miserable, took a seat catercornered from me. He’d driven all night to be here. He didn’t want to face me. His presence was a compromise, a temporary accommodation as far as I was concerned....

  8. Pipe Smoke
    (pp. 124-133)
    Sidney Byrd

    I have met up with Lily at Pauline’s grave, out in the country. Lily has invited me over, so I go, happy to see her after all these years. I think she means me no harm.

    She takes out her mother’s best china, makes hot tea with lemon, and her parents, whom she is visiting, are at the drugstore, where they always are. She lets it steep, pours my cup. At the sight of that, her serving me, I think, well, the time has finally come when Lily and I can talk as if there had been one life in...

  9. Salvage
    (pp. 134-158)
    Homer Cobb

    We set out about midnight, which is late, I know, but Aunt Isabel didn’t think we had much time to find him.

    To get to North Salter you head south from Fayton through the Alba River Basin on 117 toward Guston Corners to State Road 20A. This is by far the loneliest beach road I know of. Long time ago the island was a place for pirates to hide their booty and now mamma sea turtles come to shore there to bury their eggs. Later, on a schedule, the turtles come out of the sea to greet their babies just...

  10. Paradise
    (pp. 159-171)
    Homer “Homeboy” Cobb II

    Half the town is talking already. The rest will read about it in tomorrow’s paper. But I am not interested in why Uncle Tulip wants me arrested. A civil suit is a civil thing, he says, and this thing wasn’t civil. Breach of contract, actually, would be civil, he’s saying,what Homeboy did was malicious, criminal. I am interested in an ideal life. I am interested in telling you what it would be like, if you are curious.

    There will be people of all types in the town of Fayton, and they will speak to each other. No one will...

  11. Where What Gets Into People Comes From
    (pp. 172-190)
    Lily Stark

    As soon as they walked into the Cobbs’ home that morning, Lily’s mother said the facts of the man’s murder were too horrible to repeat. But Lily’s father insisted a story as awful as how Mr. Homer was slaughtered would teach Lily something about this world.

    “I don’t care about the world you even mean,” Lily said.

    For a long time Lily had been looking for a cause for her wildness. She’d just found it. So she felt like she could tell her father off. And they were in front of neighbors, so he wouldn’t slap her. Old man Homer...