Friday, March 18, 2016

The Time the Waters Rose and Stories of the Gulf Coast Says:
I was intrigued when I received this book as I love stories about the Gulf.  The book description did say that these stories are different and 2 pages in I saw exactly what they meant.  The first story re-enacts the tale of Noah and the building of the Ark.  It is rowdy, bawdy, lewd in parts and altogether something that could make a devout Christian cringe.  I was absolutely captivated by it's sly wit and twisty turns to the tale.

The next story I flipped to was The Drag Queen and the Southern Cross - where the Drag Queen is not at all what you'd expect and the ending is a shocking dark twist.

There are several more stories, not all of  them appropriate for someone of a delicate nature, but  still well written.

This is a fine, slim book of stories that are perfect for those breaks in your day when you need to escape into another world.  The stories are good enough that you can also make it a binge read and be sorry when the last page hits so soon. 


The Time the Waters Rose
And Stories of the Gulf Coast
Paul Ruffin
USC Press 
February 2016

A collection of short stories about the rough and sometimes mysterious waters

Writer Paul Ruffin celebrates the mysteries of the sea in the short story collection The Time the Waters Rose.

 From shrimp boat captains to shipyard workers, Ruffin's characters are men who drink, swear, fight, and sometimes kill, but what unifies them is that all-embracing magic of the Gulf Coast and the barrier islands. While some are drawn to the Gulf for its mystery, others are there simply to earn a living, and all are unforgettable, from the bawdy, snuff-dipping rednecks to the land-locked shipbuilder who erects a ship in his suburban backyard to the salty old freethinker aboard The Drag Queen who gives his evangelical shipmate hell for suggesting they say grace before lunch.

The title story, which Ruffin started writing as a ten-year-old bored with traditional biblical tales, is an irreverent, satirical retelling of the epic Noah story. All the other tales are set in and around the Mississippi coast, but they are not your typical sea and fishing yarns. While some of the stories may seem far-fetched, they are all drawn from Ruffin's experiences and are rich with tactile descriptions of the Pascagoula River and its surrounding marshlands, from the sun and shadow play of the open waters to the powerful thunderheads and squalls that arise at a moment's notice over the islands of the Gulf.

Paul Ruffin is a Texas State University System Regents' Professor and Distinguished Professor of English at Sam Houston State University, where he also holds the title of writer in residence. The 2009 Texas poet laureate, he is the author of two novels, six collections of short stories, five books of nonfiction prose, and seven collections of poetry and the editor or coeditor of fifteen other books. His work has appeared widely in journals and magazines in the United States and abroad and has been featured on National Public Radio.