Southeastern professor authors short story collection
Monday, December 7, 2015
by: Rene Abadie
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University English Professor Norman German has published
a new collection of short stories.
“Dead Dog Lying,” a series of stories placed along the I-10 corridor from New Orleans to Texas, shines a light on society’s misfits and is largely based on events the author has experienced, dreamed or witnessed over his life. Many of the characters in the stories take their names from towns along the corridor, such as Elton, Jennings, Iota, Cecilia and Henderson.
Norman said he dreamed about a boy with antlers and made him the protagonist of “Deerboy,” whose title character gains the gift of athletic prowess. The story “Controlled Burn” uses a prescribed ecological fire as the metaphor for a female game warden’s barely controllable rage at her abusive father, on whom she exacts revenge in a unique way at the story’s end. “The Girl and the Green Gas Can” is based on a relative’s childhood predilection for sniffing gasoline until she passed out.
The tale “Ditchboy” is based on the real-life English girl Hayley Okines, who died of progeria, the disease that prematurely ages its victims eight years for each year they live. “She was 17 – or in ‘progeria years’ and thanks to new life-extending drugs – 136 years old when she died,” he said.
“Norman German’s stories are filled with clever wordplay and witty turns of plot. His expert use of description and metaphor demonstrates his longtime experience as writer and teacher,” said Tim Gautreaux, Southeastern writer-in-residence and author of “The Missing” and several other novels.
“In Norman German’s mesmerizing stories of south Louisiana, the ordinary is the fantastic, and the fantastic becomes the everyday,” adds Gerald Duff, author of “Dirty Rice and Blue Sabine.” “Horror and wonder live side by side in these powerful tales of haunted states of mind. ‘Dead Dog Lying’ takes hold and will not let go.”
A native of Lake Charles who earned his doctorate from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now University of Louisiana at Lafayette), German is the author of several other works, including “A Savage Wisdom,” an imaginative reconstruction of the life of Toni Jo Henry, the only woman executed in Louisiana’s electric chair; and the baseball novel “Switch-Pitchers,” copies of which reside by special request in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
“Dead Dog Lying” was published by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is available through the ULL Press, Amazon and other outlets.