Twelve highly inventive stories set in and around Northern California, ranging from tragic to comic, from sweet to kinky, and featuring protagonists, male and female, from every walk of life. To buy a copy (list price $14.95), just click the Cold River Press link immediately below.
Cold River Press
NPR Interview re This Book
This collection celebrates the inherent variety of the short story form. Frequently stories published together have a common theme, or are expressly linked in time, or carry a particular character or characters forward from plotline to plotline. Not so, here, although the individual stories are organized such that the mood transitions between them will add to the reading experience and not seem abrupt, despite the broad scope.
For example, one story deals with a pair of privileged college women who set out to seduce their drama professor, while another, “Lost Coast,” tells of a rural marijuana smuggler's run-in with an old-school rancher who personifies the Code of the West. Then there’s the homeless poet torn between his alcoholic past and his precarious toehold on a literary future, as well as separate stories of runaway teen girls, the first of whom is seen still on the streets, in danger of being raped, while the second is newly in rehab, desperate to make sense of her brother’s death.
The title story, meanwhile, poses a question: is the unnamed protagonist seeking forgiveness, justice or revenge in the confessional of a church he’s never previously visited? Or in “Grouse Ridge,” does Jack Kerouac really come back from the dead to hang around with his old pal Gary at a remote Sierra fire lookout?
There are other questions too: has the self-described James found himself the hottest one-night stand ever, or is Lisa truly the date from hell? How much fealty does a public defender owe his client? Could upwardly mobile Sabine actually have slept with an extraterrestrial? What happens to shared grief when a man’s long-time partner dies and her grown daughter—his nominal step-daughter for over a decade—can’t accept that he and her mother made a conscious decision not to marry? Or in “Self Storage,” can Doris take even a first step toward escaping the cluttered disaster she’s made of her life?
With all this and more, "Foregive Me, Father" packs plenty of emotional power between its covers.