Here are startling and compelling stories of small-town life in the tradition of Sherwood Anderson's ""Winesburg, Ohio"". The stories in ""A Near-Perfect Gift"" center around often hardscrabble small-town life in one rural community. Like any other place, it's a community, where both the banal and the improbable coalesce, a place with its share of common tragedies and uncommon madmen, some of whom howl at the moon, and others who turn out to be heroes. There are the two old ladies down the street who might be witches and must be exorcised, or the man who plucks chickens for a living. It's the sort of place where small questions - often the kind that children ask, questions that arise from a child's imagined understanding of how the adult world works - assume enormous proportions: was that a snake beneath the woodpile? Could a pregnant bat climb out of a hole in the ground? The answers never cease to surprise.
Rose Marie Kinder is the author of Sweet Angel Band, which won the 1991 Willa Cather Award. Her fiction has appeared in Passages North, Southern Indiana Review, Other Voices, Notre Dame Review, and elsewhere. Her nonfiction and poetry have appeared in Confrontation, The Atlanta Review, and Poetry.