Cry of the Tinamou (1997)
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Babb's long apprenticeship in the short story and poetry is evident in the clarity, lyricism, and careful craftsmanship of the fifteen short stories collected in Cry of the Tinamou. Told from the close-up perspective of a compassionate observer the stories dramatize the divided claims of being and desire that alienate individuals from one another and the natural world nourishing their existence.
Babb's short stories appeared in a remarkable diversity of magazines and journals, including radical "little magazines" such as The Anvil and Windsor Quarterly, regional magazines like The Midland and Hinterland, mainstream publications such as Prairie Schooner and the Southwest Review, university journals like Antioch Review and the New Mexico Quarterly Review, and mass-market magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post, Seventeen, and Redbook.
In his insightful introduction to the collection Alan Wald notes cinematographic stylistic techniques in Babb's writing such as "soft focus." It is indeed likely that her screenwriting work and intimate familiarity with James Wong Howe's film work were influential. She wrote articles on her husband's cinematography for trade journals and often accompanied him on film locations. Drawing from personal experience and the diverse milieus with which she had close association, such as Los Angeles' Chinese-American and Filipino communities, and Mexico City's poor, Babb's stories reveal her deep embrace of life and belief in the everrenewing spring of compassion and love.