How to Be a Man
Tamara Linse, author
A girl whose self-worth revolves around masculinity, a bartender who loses her sense of safety, a woman who compares men to plants, and a boy who shoots his cranked-out father. These are a few of the hard-scrabble characters in Tamara Linse's debut short story collection, How to Be a Man. Set in contemporary Wyoming—the myth of the West taking its toll—these stories reveal the lives of tough-minded girls and boys, self-reliant women and men, struggling to break out of their lonely lives and the emotional havoc of their families to make a connection, to build a life despite the odds. How to Be a Man falls within the tradition of Maile Meloy, Tom McGuane, and Annie Proulx.
In this winning debut collection of short stories, Linse presents a vivid portrait of life in the American West. The author weaves together tales of a young tomboy who struggles with expectations of femininity, a young girl trying to understand sexuality, and pregnant women and the bonds they share. Linse deftly evokes contemporary rural Wyoming, the collection's setting—as well as the unique characters that populate it. The stories are brief vignettes, and readers will find themselves curious about what happens after each tale draws to a close. While it may be difficult to distinguish between a few of the characters, readers will be drawn in to the collection's world and will find themselves wanting to read more of Linse's intimate tales.