How the Water Feels: Stories

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Southern Methodist University Press, 2002 - Fiction - 183 pages
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Paul Eggers’s stories examine the moral arena created by the existence of refugees. Some are stories about literal refugees, those displaced in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, and about those who would help them. Others are about refugees in a metaphoric sense—people alternately bullied and bullying, exiled from sources of power, caught in moments when the familiar gives way.

In “The Year Five,” Nguyen Van Trinh, one of the boat people who left Vietnam after the war, is living in a squalid refugee camp on Bidong Island. He is as powerless to repress his sorrow over his daughter’s death as the Malaysian administrative chief of the island is to find out who carved Trinh’s name into the wooden plank in the staff eating hut.

In “The Public Spectacle,” Bridget and Owen Greef, two misfits, have been growing apart because of his obsession with chess and Bobby Fischer. They both must come to terms with the fact that they are—as a couple and as individuals—permanent outsiders.

In “Anything You Want, Please,” Peace Corps trainee Reuben Gill is led into the malevolent presence of long-term “jungle junkie” (and Peace Corps volunteer) Geronimo Donaldson’s companion monkey. In this alien place, Gill finds himself struggling against his own worst impulses, beginning to doubt the strength of his commitment to his stateside fiancée.

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Contents

How the Water Feels
1
Anything You Want Please
33
Proof
55
Copyright

2 other sections not shown

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About the author (2002)

PAUL EGGERS is a former Peace Corps volunteer and UN relief worker; he is also a former nationally ranked chess master. He received his Ph.D. in fiction writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His novelSaviors (Harcourt Brace, 1999) was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and won the Maria Thomas Fiction Award. The recipient of a 20022003 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, he teaches creative writing at California State University, Chico.

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