A Different Plain


A Different Plain

Contemporary Nebraska Fiction Writers

Edited by Ladette Randolph
Introduction by Mary Pipher

398 pages


September 2004


$21.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

O Pioneers! was oh so long ago, and yet Willa Cather's masterpiece has proven to be an enduring template for readers' notions of Nebraska writing. The short stories collected here, so richly various in style, theme, and subject matter, should put an end to any such plain thinking about writing from this anything-but-plain state.

Nebraska writers all, the authors explore the Midwest, a vastness of small towns, corn, cattle, football, and family businesses. They also venture far afield, to desolate western lives, crowded urban relationships, poignant couplings, comic families, and the worldly idiosyncrasies of characters everywhere. Whether about aging or coming-of-age, leave-taking or coming home, falling apart or finding love, these stories represent contemporary fiction at its best, from the high style of Richard Dooling's "Immortal Man" to Kent Haruf's soft-spoken "Dancing," from Ron Hansen's "My Communist" to Jonis Agee's earthy, offbeat "Binding the Devil." Original, spirited, and surprising, these contemporary writings depict a modern world on the move and extend the tradition of great fiction from Nebraska into the twenty-first century.

Author Bio

Ladette Randolph, the associate director and humanities editor at the University of Nebraska Press. She is the author of a collection of short stories This Is Not the Tropics (2006) and recipient of numerous awards, including the Virginia Faulkner Award, Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award, and a Pushcart Prize. Mary Pipher has taught clinical psychology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and is the author of several books, including the bestseller Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls.


"In this fine new anthology, Ladette Randolph. . . . an accomplished short story writer herself, assembles a strong collection of stories all bound together by that familiar place on the national map that we call Nebraska. . . . There are some real gems in this book. . . . Taken in its entirety, A Different Plain reminds readers that there is a whole other American literature that is often overlooked by those on either coast."—Bloomsbury Review

"This wonderful anthology brings together 25 contemporary Nebraska fiction writers and showcases some of the best emerging literary talent available to the reading public. . . . The Midwest has never been so well represented in contemporary fiction. . . . This book is a delightful read."—Mike Nobles, Tulsa World

"Here is a collection of short stories that shows promise to the avid reader of fiction. . . . The authors and stories presented in A Different Plain should be appreciated not only for their relation to Nebraska but also for their relation to American contemporary fiction in general. . . . What becomes most important about A Different Plain is its abillity to show just how diverse, complicated, and dramatic the Great Plains really are."—North Dakota Quarterly

"Beyond Willa Cather. That seems to be the current of thought running through A Different Plain: Contemporary Nebraska Fiction Writers, an absorbing collection of short stories from gifted authors (other than the most famous one) with Cornhusker connections. . . . It's a stellar Nebraska writing cast. . . . These stories sparkle with pure entertainment value. . . . Modern short stories tend to lean toward esoteric writer's workshop head games. These, we're happy to report, go against that grain. You'll feel you know these writers because they tell stories as the neighbors do—complete with sometimes explicit details that make us squirm in our comfy worlds. As a whole, they all illuminate our Midwest, helping us make sense of this complicated corner of paradise we call home."—Midwest Living


Winner of the 2005 Nebraska Book Award - Anthology Category, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book

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