The stories collected in This Is Not the Tropics come from the geographic centre of a divided nation, and its protagonists evoke a split personality--one half submerged in America's own diehard mythology, the other half searching to escape tradition. Together they form a portrait of the Plains that is both quirky and poignant. While the themes in this collection are familiar--love and betrayal, loneliness and regret, the needs of the individual versus the needs of the community--the tales themselves are startling and new. Whether it is the story of an eccentric out-of-work accordion player; a woman ending a long marriage against the backdrop of a visit from her failing mother; a young girl who wishes to solve a mystery until real mystery enters her life; or all of the men in a small Nebraska town who annually compete in a hilariously earnest beauty pageant, these are tales that speak of the lives lived in the small towns, the prairie cities, and on the dirt roads off blue highways in the middle of nowhere and everywhere.
Ladette Randolph is editor in chief of the journal Ploughshares and teaches at Emerson College in Boston. Winner of many awards for her short stories and books, she is author of a novel, A Sandhills Ballad, and editor of two anthologies, A Different Plain and The Big Empty. She was formerly the managing editor of the journal Prairie Schooner and an acquiring editor at University of Nebraska Press.