The University of Wisconsin Press

Fiction / Great Plains

This Is Not the Tropics
Ladette Randolph

Library of American Fiction

"Ladette Randolph’s stories sink their teeth into the deep Nebraska Midwest the way that Flannery O’Connor tore into the heart of Georgia. There’s a wonderfully sly, deadpan sweetness at work here, so that it may take a moment to realize how odd and twisty the stories are."
Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply

The stories collected in This Is Not the Tropics come from the geographic center of a divided nation, and its protagonists evoke a split personality—one half submerged in America’s own diehard mythology, the other half searching to escape tradition. Together they form a portrait of the Plains that is both quirky and poignant. While the themes in this collection are familiar—love and betrayal, loneliness and regret, the needs of the individual versus the needs of the community—the tales themselves are startling and new. Whether it is the story of an eccentric out-of-work accordion player; a woman ending a long marriage against the backdrop of a visit from her failing mother; a young girl who wishes to solve a mystery until real mystery enters her life; or all of the men in a small Nebraska town who annually compete in a hilariously earnest beauty pageant, these are tales that speak of the lives lived in the small towns, the prairie cities, and on the dirt roads off blue highways in the middle of nowhere and everywhere.


“Ladette Randolph’s stories have the sly, subtle intensity of a snake gliding through grass. They sneak up on their characters and the reader alike, invoking humor, grace, and wisdom before pouncing on us with exhilarating epiphanies that are as dark and brutal as they are hopeful.” —Meghan Daum, author of Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House


Portrait of Ladette Randolph in black and white Ladette Randolph is editor in chief of the journal Ploughshares and teaches at Emerson College in Boston. Winner of many awards for her short stories and books, she is author of a novel, A Sandhills Ballad, and editor of two anthologies, A Different Plain and The Big Empty. She was formerly the managing editor of the journal Prairie Schooner and an acquiring editor at University of Nebraska Press.

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"Beautifully written, and wise, this book manages to be both tragic and funny, a combination hard to wrangle."—Diane Ackerman, author of One Hundred Names For Love

the cover of Randolph's book features a photo illustration of a woman in a sober blue dress clutching a red purse as she stands by a subway or airport shuttle seat

March 2012

LC: 2005005452 PS
292 pp.    5 x 8 1/2

Book icon Paper $24.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-21514-9
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The Terrace Books logo is designed in the shape of a book with a Union chair in silhouette on the cover. The words Terrace Books, Madison, Wisconsin appear also.
A trade imprint of the University of Wisconsin Press

"From the wife who discovers her husband has a gay lover to the accordion player in a polka band, Randolph gets each and every character just right."

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Updated March 6, 2012

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