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Durations gathers a memoir and seven personal essays that explore the life of the author, from her World War II-era childhood in Tennessee to her adolescence as a small town cheerleader to life as an author, traveler and rancher.
Like the main character in her interconnected and often autobiographical short stories, Carolyn Osborn is extremely curious about her occasionally eccentric family, yet she must continually accept the mysteries of reality—a mother, diagnosed as incurably schizohprenic, kept in a state mental hospital, next door neighbors who appear to live on almost nothing, the eternal balance of caring deeply for an unforgiving Texas Hill Country landscape while traveling from Europe to Egypt to the Galapagos.
Aware of the need for family mythology, she often mines family history (one of her forebears may have followed Daniel Boone over the Cumberland Gap and later settled in Tennessee; his long rifle hangs in Osborn’s living room) and her own distinctly Southern background that witnesses a fading 19th-century morality, readily accepts individual eccentricity, and celebrates storytelling as a way of understanding the world.
ABOUT CAROLYN OSBORN
Carolyn Osborn graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.J. degree in 1955, and an M.A. in 1959. She has won awards from P.E.N., the Texas Institute of Letters, and a Distinguished Prose Award from The Antioch Review (2003). Her stories have been included in The O. Henry Prize Stories (Doubleday, 1991) and Lone Star Literature (Norton, 2003), among numerous other anthologies.
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