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Robert Rebein argues that much literary fiction of the 1980s and 90s represents a triumphant, if tortured, return to questions about place and the individual that inspired the works of Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, Faulkner, and other giants of American literature. Concentrating on the realist bent and regional orientation in contemporary fiction, he discusses in detail the various names by which this fiction has been described, including literary postmodernism, minimalism, Hick Chic, Dirty Realism, ecofeminism, and more. Rebein’s clearly written, nuanced interpretations of works by Raymond Carver, Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo, Louise Erdrich, Dorothy Allison, Barbara Kingsolver, E. Annie Proulx, Chris Offut, and others, will appeal to a wide range of readers.

Robert Rebein is assistant professor of English and creative writing at Indiana University-Purdue University.

"Looks at some of the most important works of the end of the 20th century in light of what they do, rather than how they fit into any particular movement."—Book News

"Rebein singles out realism and regionalism as the exciting and enduring strains in US literature, a focus that is keeping the American tradition alive."—Choice

"Rebein claims that after postmodern fiction, American writing (since 1980) has returned to the fundamentals of realism, but with a broader range of perspective and techniques. Hicks, Tribes, and Dirty Realists delivers everything you might think the title promises."—Journal of Appalachian Studies

"I urge anyone still puzzled by what has been happening in recent American literature to read this book. Rebein writes clearly and convincingly of recent books which moved him deeply."—Leslie Fiedler, SUNY-Buffalo

"A shrewd topographical map of contemporary American fiction."—Mark Shechner, SUNY-Buffalo

"This is the best guide I know to contemporary American fiction—thorough, incisive, coherent, readable."—Wade Hall

"A book worth reading."—American Book Review

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Postmodernism, Realism in literature, Experimental fiction


Literature in English, North America

Hicks, Tribes, and Dirty Realists: American Fiction after Postmodernism
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