Gumbo Ya-Ya is representative of a world-view from the mean streets of the “Big Sleazy” to the prison chow hall at Pendleton Reformatory. The characters in these stories range from a man who beds his best friend’s girlfriend, to a college football player who discovers his youthful machismo disappearing when he faces a drunk with a revolver in hand. Other characters include a newly-widowed man who tries to honor his deceased wife, a boy who abets his grandfather’s suicide, a convict who achieves freedom behind bars, and several men who are unsure about themselves with the women they’re with.
Included are two essays. In one essay, Edgerton inveighs against the current climate of censorship and political correctness, and in the other provides an excerpt from an as-yet unpublished memoir.
The NY Times Book Review compared Edgerton’s writing favorably to Raymond Carver with his first collection
Several of the stories were published in prestigious literary magazines and nominated for prizes, one appeared in Houghton-Mifflin’s Best American Mystery Stories, 2001, and another story was included in the inaugural issue of the crime noir magazine, Murdaland and in the inaugural edition of Flatmancrooked. One of the essays was delivered as an address at Vermont College.
The stories in Gumbo Ya-Ya characters living on the fringes of society. These folks have never met Ozzie and Harriet.