Tuesday, April 1st, 2008 by

Fire Ants, the new short story collection by Gerald Duff, is a finalist for the Jesse Jones Award for Best Book of Fiction in 2007, from the Texas Institute of Letters. The winner of the award will be announced April 19 at the organization’s annual banquet in Dallas, Texas. Gerald’s earlier novel, Coasters, was also nominated for the Jesse Jones Award.

The stories found in Fire Ants range in locale from the marshes and pine barrens of East Texas to the row houses of Baltimore, and in time from the Civil War to the present day. Gerald Duff conjures up portraits of people captive to private delusions and bound to visions of what might be or might have been. Two children conspire to find a way around a madman, a middle-aged loner kidnaps a cheerleader to watch her dance, a blind man revisits how he lost his sight and found his way in a seaport bordello, a mother trades her body to raise her son’s bail, and a ruined songwriter tries to convince himself that he still believes in Memphis. Highly comic and deeply serious, the tales Duff gives us trace precisely a conflicted terrain of love, hate, and family.

Gerald Duff’s Fire Ants is available directly from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.