Winner of the George Garrett Fiction Prize, Susan Lowell’s Two Desperados is a collection of southwest-flavored stories that feature a blacksmith, several smugglers, a mule, a jaguar, a runaway groom, a murderess, a witch, a basket weaver, a Gremlin, three cowboys, and a ghost. Settings range from a grand university library to a construction site, from an apocalyptic dream world to the coyote-haunted banks of the Rio Grande. A novella called “Captain Death” traces a journalist’s odyssey along the U.S.-Mexico border. Another novella, “Two Desperados,” follows a prodigal daughter’s return to her eccentric Arizona home. And although they grapple with love and death, many members of this motley gang still manage to find sparkles in the darkness and a few crazy moments of grace.
These eighteen stories play a few games with traditional short story form, but by and large they remain in the realism camp—yet it is realism tweaked or enlivened with an occasional sprinkle of magic or a small electric zap. In length they range from a few words to many pages, from the brief text of a bumper sticker to a full-scale novella. In the words of Apuleius, author of The Golden Ass: “Reader! Pay attention! You’re going to enjoy yourself!”
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Published by Texas Review Press