Ted Haynes' love affair with Central Oregon began in 1975. The collection of 16 short stories showcases this remote, austere and beautiful region, from an alien invasion in 1853 through a daughter's farewell to her father almost two centuries later. Cowboys, ranchers, historic tribal inhabitants and Italian prisoners of war rub shoulders in tales of love, adventure, family drama, war and mystery, with the area's mountains, rivers, and scrublands as a backdrop.
Some of the stories, such as 'Kubali and the Vampire Cowboys' are fantastical and a bit silly, but fun. 'Bloodlines' and 'Prisoner of Conscience,' set during the world wars, touch on some controversial topics. 'Falling Star' explores our interaction with the local tribes endemic to the area in the years following the settlement of the west. My favorite, as a longtime golfer, was 'House Rules,' an epic battle between rivals OSU and UO where the normal rules of golf just don't seem to apply. And a few, like the title story, have a subtle dark twist that keeps the book from being too comfortable.
Haynes' characters are solid and knowable - even the aliens - and his love for Central Oregon is evident. This is a fun read as well as a trip through the history of the region, and a glimpse or two into a possible future. - Renee Struthers
Read Below - Newberry Eagle, July 1, 2013
On the Road from Burns: Stories from Central Oregon – A book by Ted Haynes
Review by T. Myers
Ted Haynes, known for his book Vandevert; The Hundred Year History of a Central Oregon Ranch has just released his newest book of stories: On the Road from Burns.
Since I am a writer of short stories and non-fiction articles, I was very interested to see how Haynes tackled his 16 story collection. I read nothing about the material until after I read the collection. It seemed to be written by different authors and offered up as an anthology – not a group of very different stories with different styles and point of view in the telling. But, all of them were written by Ted Haynes and they were each inspired by Haynes’ own readings and experiences and they cover the gamut of offerings that include growing up tales, a sci-fi story, a story that takes place on the side of the road between Bend and Burns when an engine overheats and the driver sits high above the cooling auto when road pirates appear to plunder what they can.
He takes on the story of an Indian woman trying to get the story of her life down on paper when she appears at the doorstep of a white pioneer who includes the story in a letter to her family in Connecticut. When they build the Crooked River Gorge Bridge, a boy and his father travel to watch the process and the boy’s risky behavior of crawling too close to the edge…we just don’t know! Several stories later, he is the focus of the second part of the story. There are stories that take place in the Rosland area of La Pine. A witness to a murder’s life changes when he remains silent and forty years later we see what his life has been like through the years. There is a very strange golf tourney, a new associate at a law firm who does not understand the books she finds and goes to a mentor figure for help and???
He finds a way to talk about the German prisoners of war in WWII, a couple with one of those neighbors you would soon have move away from the neighborhood and several others that are just as engaging.
Haynes develops interesting characters you want to follow. He uses language you can understand. His dialogue is clear. Nothing is over wordy or over descriptive. It is a solid collection of stories designed to be a treat for the reader, who will recognize the settings. My favorite is the one about the doctor who stops to help a man (circa 1911) and what he ends up going through. It is the one from the Rosland area.
All in all, if you like to read a short story, this is a good choice, there are a couple of stories you will have a lot to talk about and each of them are different enough that you will have all of your bells and whistles rung!