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A catalogue of everything in the world: Nebraska stories

Yelizaveta P Renfro, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


A CATALOGUE OF EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD: NEBRASKA STORIES is a collection of linked short stories, all set in Nebraska, that explore the ways in which the forces of geography—being from or choosing to live in a particular place—affect identity and influence the course of lives. They feature a wide range of characters, from a bus driver mourning the death of his infant daughter to an octogenarian former doctor preparing for her death, from a young girl trying to cope with her parents' divorce to a woman whose obsession with a decades-old crime has literally taken over her life. Just as they explore a variety of lives, the stories take on a variety of forms. One is a collection of postcards, one is an excerpt from a diary, one is a letter to a friend, one is a series of e-mails, one prominently features a list as its organizing device, and one includes as part of its text a resume, a timeline, a business card, a real estate flyer, and an infomercial. I see each of these diverse, highly textured narratives as a unique window—an unusual vantage point—from which the characters' lives can be glimpsed. As a whole, the stories weave together to form a larger picture of a community of people, living side by side, often oblivious to one another's troubles but intricately and subtly involved in one other's lives. In writing these linked stories, I looked to authors who through shorter, stand alone stories created larger coherent narratives; such works include Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, James Joyce's Dubliners, Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street, Katherine Anne Porter's Pale Horse, Pale Rider, and William Faulkner's Go Down, Moses.^

Subject Area

Literature, American

Recommended Citation

Renfro, Yelizaveta P, "A catalogue of everything in the world: Nebraska stories" (2010). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3398152.