Read Coming Home: A 2010 Main Street Rag Short Fiction Anthology by Katey Schultz Free Online
Book Title: Coming Home: A 2010 Main Street Rag Short Fiction Anthology|
Date of issue: 2010
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
The author of the book: Katey Schultz
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 422 KB
Edition: Main Street Rag Publishing Company
Read full description of the books Coming Home: A 2010 Main Street Rag Short Fiction Anthology:This is a memorable read for me as it is my first book containing a story written by a Goodreads friend. When I joined GR, I did not know that a time like this would come. Not only that I would have lots of good friends who share not only my passion in reading but more importantly also share my taste on books. Having an author-friend is indeed a great bonus. I cannot review all the stories because I do not want to bore you with a very long review that will spoil your fun in reading the book. Rather, allow me to just include just a few of them with very minimal spoilers, maybe just to give you some ideas of the stories included:
This book, Coming Home is an anthology of 20 short stories about homecoming. When I picked up this book from Pasig Post Office last month and saw the picture of an old American home with an American flag prominently displayed on its front, I thought that this was all about middle-age Americans or retirees who visited their childhood homes and all the dramas that happened during the visit or while they were reminiscing their happy or unhappy growing up days. After reading all the 20 stories, that expectation was not completely wrong but I had so many surprises that I thought that the editor did a good job in compiling those stories and/or coaching the contributors regarding the theme of their anthology.
Barren Waters (5 STARS) by my friend Teresa Tumminello Brader is obviously my favorite. I had to read it thrice for me to be able to write this review. There were terms that I could not understand during my first reading like what a levee was and how it fitted into the image that the portion in the story tried to create in my mind. The story is about a mother, Angela who visits his hometown in New Orleans after the devastation of typhoon Katrina. She found her home to be on top of an air-conditioning unit. So she and her husband Neal have to sleep on the trailer outside their former home. In the course of the story she also visits her cold-hearted mother who does not want to listen to what she feels: the funny feeling in her uterus. Home here is not only the physical home wrecked by Katrina but can also the heart of a mother or Angela’s womb. One was devastated by a typhoon while the other one is devastating her daughter who is experiencing pain and she thinks of seeing comfort to the familiar embrace of a mother. Then the womb is that place where we all came from and the deluge of blood in the end is like what happened to the former during the height of Katrina’s fury.
Somewhere Again (3 STARS) is simply the story of Owen who has Alzheimer’s Disease and living alone in his apartment. Everything in his room is properly labeled including the one with his siblings in Red Oak with a caption: ”Objective: Go Home to Red Oak, Iowa.” Of course, he does not know Red Oak and when he is in the supermarket later in the story, he thinks that his “home” is his apartment and not in Red Oak. My 75-y/o mother is also living alone in her senior’s apartment and I could relate to the some details author Suzanne Dutton captured in the story like the phone numbers of many people in Owen’s room. Those are the people that he or his finder can call in case of emergency. In my mom’s apartment, my name and my telephone numbers are the 4th in her list.
Sleepy Willy (3 STARS). This is a story of two male friends, the author-narrator Steve Fayer and his friend Sleepy Willy. It uses double flashbacks. The opening paragraphs are when they are being chased by a Jack the Cop in a train station. Then it is immediately followed by another flashback, starting from when the two are 5, 8, 15 years old. After the train chase incident, the story flashforwards to the middle-age Steve recalling the incident when they are 17-years old and Sleepy Willy is climbing the pole pleasantly singing: ”Land of the hope and glory/Mother of the free/How shall we extol thee/Who are born to theee.”. The rest of the story is about their misadventures as young boys or men and their brushes with the law enforcers. Home here is shown as a sanctuary, i.e., a place where you go to rest. The young boy sleepy Willy is not getting enough sleep because his nephew is a colic child. The young man sleepy Willy is not getting enough sleep because he is an insomniac. “Tired, Willy says. Awful tired.” “Go home,”, Miss Murphy says. “No,” he says.
The Writing on the Wall (4 STARS) is one of the stories in the anthology that I only read once and understood right away. The author, Ida Bettis Fogle is crystal-clear in its sharpness that you get the images right away and her message is stated in a way that there is no room for confusion. Before I sound like her writing style is similar to that of Nicholas Sparks, please hold your horses. Fogle knows how to tell a story and this is not even romance. She tells the story of a visiting daughter to the home of his father who is living with just a dog. He mentioned about Candi and the daughter right away thought that Candi was a prostitute. I hope that Fogle becomes a full-fledged novelist as her talent in storytelling can give Nicholas Sparks a run for his money.
A Heart-Struck Miscreant (2 STARS) has a women’s correctional facility as a setting. It seems to me that the concept of home here is not physical but metaphorical, i.e., that peace inside your heart. Rosie lost her child when he was just one-year old. She comes back to the facility to retrieve the body. Author Dawn Marar surprisingly did not make this melodramatic (which is what I preferred) as her protagonist seems to be a strong-willed character molded by the tough prison environment. This technique makes the story unpredictable and provided the unusual internal conflict: her tough exterior camouflaging her soft interior of a mother missing her lost child.
In my opinion, Yellow Tape (5 STARS) is the only story qualified to compete with the first story, Barren Waters for the Best Story award in this anthology. It tells the story of a mother, Mildred who loses her son Matt to AIDS. The setting is in a laidback town in Heartland USA where having an AIDS case in unusual if not unthinkable. The other protagonist is Bob Jenkins who operates the funeral parlor where Matt is to be embalmed. Home here is both the physical home where Matt grew up and home as in heaven where Matt is now at peace and living as her mom’s angel baby. The author, Nancy McKinley knows how to make use of your tear ducts. This story can make you cry. My only small criticism for this story is the presence of three typographical errors, e.g., “throught” for throughout.
In Spin, (2 STARS) home is symbolized by a birch tree where birds lay their nests. It tells the story of Tilden who unlike Matt in the previous story, seems to prefer to stay in his hometown than study in a university located in a big city. There are of course reasons like he does not want to bump into his ex and he despises his biological father for abandoning his mother and him when he was still a child but now has the nerve to send him a card signed “Love, Dad.” Not too much unusual but brilliant aspect in the story and this main protagonist, Tilden, seems like an all-American young man who I cannot relate with.
Guthrie Junction (2 STARS) is a story is too short to make an impact on me. I think it suffered from its brevity. It is a story of soldier Corporal Sloane Albert Lwalor who is riding on a train and meets a fellow passenger Sally Packard. At first, I thought that they did not know each other until Sally said that Lwalor was her uncle. Huh?
The Right Fit (3 STARS) is the funniest story in this anthology because the parents of Leslie Brancaleone who are eccentric or strange not only because of their old age but also because the mother used to work as the cashier in an opera or theatre where plays like Peter Pan or Wizard of Oz were used to be shown. At the end of each season, the production company discarded their props and so the mother brought them home. The home became full of those paraphernalias and so it contributed to the death of the father when he had a heart attack and could not be saved immediately because of the clutters in their home. So, now that her mother is old, Leslie is bring her to another home, her new home.
This anthology is one of the best that I’ve read so far. It is sincere and honest in depicting the lives of the common Americans in their mid-lives or twilight years. I enjoyed every minute of reading this book.
THANK YOU, T!
Read information about the authorKatey Schultz grew up in Portland, Oregon, and is most recently from Celo, North Carolina. She is a graduate of the Pacific University MFA in Writing Program and recipient of the Linda Flowers Literary Award from the North Carolina Humanities Council. She lives in a 1970 Airstream trailer bordering the Pisgah National Forest. Flashes of War is her first book.
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