Bar Talk and Tall Tales by L. Ray Wheeler
Bar Talk and Tall Tales is the first published collection of short fiction by poet, playwright, and novelist, L. Ray Wheeler. The stories are set in the farming, ranching, and oil field country of western North Dakota, where Wheeler lived and taught for over 40 years. The tales feature a dark humor that might be called “midwestern grotesque.” As novelist Larry Watson notes in his introduction, the stories are for the most part set in bars, and advance the plot lines through the characters’ talk: “Wheeler’s dialog is a delight. …They’re wonderful talkers—laconic poets of the vulgar, desperate, and profane.” Eight stories totaling 140 pages.