Big Bend

Stories by Bill Roorbach

Amid state parks and cities, from trucking to rock-and-roll life, these stories reveal the twists and turns of human relationships


"Immensely appealing . . . Roorbach's tender, affecting stories will leave you feeling as if you've come to understand your own missteps and misjudgments slightly better, and to forgive yourself a little more."

"Roorbach is as raw and engaged a writer as you'll ever read . . . He rivals James Baldwin in his ability to miraculously open up rivers of male sentiment."
Los Angeles Weekly

"Here comes Bill Roorbach with nine good reasons to find the couch or some big chair. Reading these stories may be the reason we even have some of this furniture. Frankly, I recommend you take them into your house and meet these new people in Big Bend. They are as tender and troubled as we are, as charming, indecisive, nervous, blessed, crazy, and destined to survive, find love, miss it. I've been waiting for these stories for a while now."
—Ron Carlson

"Readers will gobble these beautifully wrought, affecting stories, wanting more. . . . Roorbach falls, for me, into that small category of writers whose every book I must read, then reread."
—Jay Parini

"Roorbach's ability to convey the unexpceted whims of luck and happenstance and irony make these stories, like the best told around firelight or on front porches, take up residence in the listener. He is a storyteller's storyteller."
—Antonya Nelson

"Bill Roorbach's stylish writing—with its surprising and generous observations about landscapes, internal and external—makes for great literature. What a pleasure to read these sharp, funny, sexy stories."
—Debra Spark

"An exceptional collection. . . . The characters are like people overheard at the next table or behind you in a line—people you instinctively want to pull for. . . . A quirky, clever, ironic, sympathetic, satisfying group of stories."
—David Walton

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Through quirky plots, one-of-kind characters, and more than a few twists, the stories in Big Bend examine gentle-hearted men and their relationships. From made-in-heaven meetings to troublesome liaisons, Roorbach's characters experience romance in unexpected, sometimes disastrous ways.

In "Fog," a teenage boy learns hard lessons about canoes, the Gulf of Maine, sex, and love. A struggling young artist goes home for the holidays in search of succor for the stomach—and heart—with poor results in "Thanksgiving." Other stories recount the ultimately disastrous reunion of estranged friends, an unemployed architect's foolish courting with bad company, and a middle-aged rock star's struggle with the urge to settle down. In the tiitle story, "Big Bend," a grieving widower, troubled by his own waning years, is tempted by a seductively attentive birdwatcher no older than his daughter.

Poignant tales of hauntingly familiar situations, Bill Roorbach's stories are full of heart, romance, edgy humor, and the frequently concealed vulnerability of men.
Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction

Page count: 208 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $18.95

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Bill Roorbach is the author of a number of books of fiction and nonfiction, including the novels Life among the Giants and The Smallest Color, the romantic memoir Summers with Juliet, the essay collection Into Woods, and Maine Prize nonfiction winner Temple Stream: A Rural Odyssey. The tenth anniversary edition of his craft book, Writing Life Stories, is used in writing programs around the world. His short fiction has been published in Harper's, Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, and dozens of other magazines, journals, and websites. He lives in western Maine.