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The Narrative Complexity of Ordinary LifeTales from the Coffee Shop$
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William L. Randall

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199930432

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199930432.001.0001

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The Tales That Bind

The Tales That Bind

Narrative and Community

(p.113) Chapter 7 The Tales That Bind
The Narrative Complexity of Ordinary Life

William L Randall

Oxford University Press

Beginning with a lighthearted treatment of one of the conversational games that coffee shop regulars are inclined to play—“Whatever became of so-and-so?”—this chapter turns to the topics of gossip and rumor, which are no strangers to coffee shop life, and to how “community” in general is an intricately “storied” web, which always has both a positive and a negative side. The narrative complexity of conversation, which is the glue that holds communities together, is discussed, as is that of compassion, understood as positive gossip. The chapter ends with some reflections on the narrative complexity of nostalgia, as the author returns to the topic of his relationship with his father and to his experience of growing up in the small rural community where his parents still live.

Keywords:   gossip, rumor, community, conversation, nostalgia

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