The Man Who Would Be God by Paul Ruffin
Stories (Southwest Life and Letters)

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In this debut collection Paul Ruffin renders the details and textures of place in such a way that a world, whole and new, is evoked, vividly transporting readers to a setting they will recognize even if they've never been there before. Having planted readers' feet firmly in a tangible place, Ruffin urges readers to lift their feet and step again, and often that second step is a lulu. Readers may find themselves in a new dimension where the certainties of reality have been abandoned. These eleven stories probe the mythic possibilities of ordinary landscapes and daily events. In "The Beast Within" a couple whose tire has a blowout on a little-traveled road spend a nightmarish night under the watchful eye of an armed and dangerous old woman and her dog; in "The Fox" a long-suppressed misery erupts in a startling denouement as a farmer's wife listens to her husband talk about a fox caught in a coon trap; in "Lamar Loper's First Case" a neophyte public attorney, delivering a restraining order to an abusive husband, uses more than his law school training to handle a volatile situation; and in the title story a wealthy West Texas rancher, wishing to extend the dimensions of his sovereignty, dons white robes and demands a peculiar kind of fealty from the Mexican peons he has invited to live on his land. Ruffin's stories are accessible, direct, and deceptively simple. His men and women, endowed with richly textured sensibilities, compel the reader's attention, demand empathy, and endure.

About Paul Ruffin

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The 2009 Texas State Poet Laureate, Paul Ruffin is a Texas State University System Regents' Professor and Distinguished Professor of English at Sam Houston State University, where he is the founding director of the Texas Review Press and founding editor of the Texas Review. Ruffin is the author of two novels, three collections of stories, three earlier books of essays, and seven collections of poetry. He is also the editor or coeditor of eleven other books. His work has appeared in the Georgia Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, New England Review, Paris Review, Poetry, Southern Review, and elsewhere.
Published September 1, 1993 by Southern Methodist University Press. 168 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Likewise, in ``Storm,'' another couple--who gave up an urban life for ``one of the sorriest East Texas farms''--study an approaching storm before the husband runs into it and disappears ``like some enchanted boy trying to fly.'' Such moments and images--set in a Texas where landscape only e...

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