Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Short Story Wednesday: "Werner" from Jo Ann Beard's FESTIVAL DAYS


I have just begun this collection and the first story "Last Night" was a touching tale of the death of a beloved dog, but the second one "Werner" was a real knockout. It's the true story of Werner Hoeflich, an artist and caterer, who survived a fire and shared his story with Beard. Although he supplied most of the details, she turns it into art, vividly capturing his ordeal and amazing escape. Most of the stories in this collection are essay-like or actual essays. I enjoyed Beard's first two collections THE BOYS OF MY YOUTH and IN ZANESVILLE and I expect to enjoy these too. 

Kevin Tipple

Jerry House 

George Kelley 

Todd Mason 

Casual Debris


Margot Kinberg said...

This does sound powerful, Patti. Interesting that this is a true story, too.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And unbelievable. But she makes it so artful.

Todd Mason said...

Cool. I have not yet read any of her work.

My entry this week:
(i luv my malfunctioning keyboard)

Casual Debris said...

I'm also not familiar with her.

Please include my entry as well. Thanks.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Don't know it.

I read 75 stories in Octorber, and have passed the 700 mark for the year. Not going to be anywhere near last year's 920 total, but the previous high was 820 in 2017, so we'll see. I can't say without checking back how many books I've read this year so far, but 47 of them are short story collections and anthologies.

This week I finished the John Weir and Jean Rhys books mentioned previously. I'm enjoying QUEENS NOIR quite a bit so far. Besides Megan's story, I've read those by Denis Hamill, JIll Eisenstadt, Stephen Solomita, Joseph Guglielmelli (called "Buckner's Error" with a tie-in to the 1986 World Series, of course).

Golden Venture was the ship that smuggled 286 undocumented immigrants from China and ran aground in the Rockaways in 1993. Ten people drowned. According to Wikipedia, about 10% of the remainder were given asylum. Jill Eisenstadt, whose book FROM ROCKAWAY (1987) I enjoyed many years ago, uses the event in her "Golden Venture," You probably wont see the end twist coming. QUEENS NOIR was published January 1, 2008.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I remember reading FROM ROCKAWAY. No one can read more shorts than you. I love the form but I can only read one or two at a time.

Todd Mason said...

Fritz Leiber noted in one of his columns he always reads fiction slowly, to find the cadence of the prose, and I was so caught up in reading his CONJURE WIFE I rushed right through one of the great climaxes in the that was a one-two punch which encouraged me to avoid speed-reading prose for pleasure...Lester Del Rey recommended reading only one story from any collection or anthology (and presumably magazine) a day, but I tend to be too greedy for that.

Glad your getting back into a weekly groove, Frank Babics!

TracyK said...

This book and author sounds very interesting. I was confused by whether the contents are nonfiction or fiction or a blend.

pattinase (abbott) said...

It is a blend, Tracy. She considers herself an essayist first but they read like stories.

TracyK said...

Thanks, that makes sense. And I will look into getting one of her books.

I also meant to say that I have started one of Alice Munro's books of short stories, and hope to be able to do a short story Wednesday post next week.

Casual Debris said...

I'm impressed. I keep track of the short stories I read but not per year. I doubt I anywhere near 900. Maybe when the kids are a little older...

Todd, I'm trying. Lots of posts in draft but then I get tired of them.

Tracy, Munro has written some great stories, but there are a couple of her collections I didn't like too much.