In the eighteen stories in this retrospective of his best short fiction, Dale Short shows why he is one of the best prose stylists of his generation and why he deserves a break-out success. Short's writing has been hailed by Wally Lamb as “simultaneously mythical and modern; a wild ride,” and Dennis Covington has called him “wise and compassionate, a major Southern writer.” He writes here from many perspectives—male, female, first-person, third-person, grieving widow, newly divorced dad, jailed redneck, riverman laid up with heart trouble, conjure woman—and in every story the voice is as true as that of a child and as clear as fresh ice. The marvel of Short's prose is that the writing is so good it disappears, leaving the reader surrounded only by the story, which resonates long after the last word is absorbed. The other remarkable thing is how Short can go from comedy to tragedy within a single paragraph, sometimes within a single sentence, and then back again. His timelines here range from the Civil War to the near future, and the locales vary from a Kentucky mining town to the Gulf Coast of Mexico to the constellation Orion—all in all, a rare feast for the imagination. Stories that have appeared before only in magazines, this collection charts more than two decades of the growth and exploration of an author who won the first Redbook Fiction Prize at the age of twenty-seven, and whose acclaimed novel The Shining, Shining Path was called by reviewers “Southern magical realism” and praised by Publishers Weekly as “boldly imaginative; a provocative spiritual odyssey.” Publishers Weekly added, “Short takes risks in a single paragraph that many writers never attempt in an entire novel.”
Turbo's Very Life offers such a wide variety of style and form—from myth to parable to oral storytelling to traditional narrative—that there's something here for everyone who cares about short fiction or just plain good stories, which I hope includes us all. Carroll Dale Short shows us ourselves in the lives of ordinary, and not so ordinary people. He even throws in a fish with two hands, that's right, hands, and makes you believe it. And you'll believe in the power of these stories.
—Marlin Barton, author of Dancing by the River
Filled with verve and a distinct poetic voice, Carrol Dale Short's stories run the gamut of what it means to be human. Wonderful, indeed.
—Marsha Mehran, author of Pomegranate Soup
Short has created a world peopled with its own characters and filled with its individual geography. One of the best books I've ever read; there's not a false moment in it.
—Alex Bledsoe, author of The Sword-Edged Blonde: An Eddie LaCrosse Novel