The Quiet Enemy


Title Details

Pages: 224

Trim size: 5.000in x 7.750in



Pub Date: 11/01/1995

ISBN: 9-780-8203-1785-4

List Price: $24.95

The Quiet Enemy


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  • Description
  • Reviews

In seven stories set in the rural South and West, Cecil Dawkins displays her remarkable talent for getting beneath the surface of ordinary lives and revealing their foibles and idiosyncrasies. An old deaf woman is kidnapped by a stranger she takes to be the devil; an atom bomb is tested in the Arizona desert; a man shoots a housebreaker dead; a son comes home for a funeral; a child disappears; a boy has his faith destroyed; a parched, money-grubbing man meets a woman no less hard. From these occasions Dawkins distills strong, rich stories.

Dawkins writes about people not sharply aware of their own motives or the sources of their emotions—people blinkered by life in remote places or by lack of good fortune. The remarkable power of her stories comes from the way she can express so much through characters who themselves can express little. She does it by her brilliant evocation of background and the truthfulness of her observation, and by her gift of compassionate understanding, which demolishes the distances between people.

Dawkins has an instinct for harsh confrontations, an eye for the moment that sears.

New York Times Book Review

Her stories have the special power, which usually belongs to poetry, of haunting the mind.


Dawkins is an American writer of exceptional talent. . . . Closely observant, sharp, often critical, always written with grace, the stories in The Quiet Enemy demand thoughtful respect.

Chicago Tribune

About the Author/Editor

CECIL DAWKINS, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, now lives in New Mexico. In addition to The Quiet Enemy, she is the author of two novels, The Live Goat and Charleyhorse, and a play, The Displaced Person, which is based on stories by Flannery O'Connor. Her stories have appeared in the Georgia Review, Paris Review, Sewanee Review, and other literary magazines.