Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Short Story Wednesday: "The Finger" Stewart O'Nan from his collection IN THE WALLED CITY

This is on Amazon right now for $1.99 and worth it. Of course, he is one of my very favorite writers. I especially liked LAST NIGHT AT THE LOBSTER, A PRAYER FOR THE DYING, SPEED QUEEN and SNOW ANGEL. He had a misfire when he tried to write a story about Fitzgerald, who is just not his sort of character.  But on the whole, he's terrific.

In "Finger" a recently separated man with a young child works at the city dump. He spends his off hours with two elderly men who sit on lawn chairs and debate things like whether a frozen mastodon is edible. And drink.  One days he finds a decent bureau at the dump and decides to refinish it for his ex-wife. At first this seems to win him some leverage with her, but then it does not. There is hope at the story's end, he might be able to move on. Great writing. 

Kevin Tipple

George Kelley 

Jerry House 


Casual Debris


Margot Kinberg said...

This sounds like one of those almost intimate stories that have a lot more to them than it seems on the surface.

pattinase (abbott) said...

My favorite kind. Much like Raymond Carver's stories

Casual Debris said...

Please include mine as well:


Jeff Meyerson said...

Like you, I'm a big fan of O'Nan's. I haven't read him in a few years, though. Of course, I've read this collection, though it is some time ago.

In the last week I've been reading Ed Hoch's collection about Captain Leopold, THE KILLER EVERYONE KNEW, and I'll finish it tomorrow. He was such an inventive short story writer, always turning up with clever twists. Any of his collections are worth reading, but my favorite is the series of Dr. Sam Hawthorne books.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Loved Speed Queen and A Prayer For the Dying. Never tried anything else. Probably should.

pattinase (abbott) said...

LAST NIGHT AT THE LOBSTER is my favorite. Very short and very lovely.
Someday I will get to Hoch. I think I have about 800 stories to read from him.

TracyK said...

I found the book and purchased it. Had some problems cause I misread your post, but now I look forward to reading some of his stories.

TracyK said...

Did you like WISH YOU WERE HERE (about Emily Maxwell)? It is also $1.99. 525 pages I think, so long for me, but it sounds like it would be good.

Jeff Meyerson said...

I agree about Last Night at the Lobster. Short but memorable. I still remember scenes from it.

Todd Mason said...

Amazon lets one read the first eight pages of the story if you look at the ebook for its collection IN THE WALLED CITY...apparently first published in NORTHWEST REVIEW. I've read a bit of O'Nan published in horror lit sites, but still need to read more.

Todd Mason said...

[]O’Nan, Stewart (1961- ) (chron.)
* The Departed, (ss) Cemetery Dance #48, 2004
* Duplex, (ss) Pittsburgh Noir ed. Kathleen George, Akashic Books, 2011
* Endless Summer, (ss) Century #6, Spring 2000
The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: Fourteenth Annual Collection ed. Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, St. Martin's Griffin, 2001
* A Fan Letter, (ex)
Granta #54, Summer 1996
* Good Morning, Heartache, (ss) Glimmer Train #33, Winter 2000
* Land of the Lost, (ss) Stories ed. Neil Gaiman & Al Sarrantonio, William Morrow, 2010
Obsession: Tales of Irresistible Desire ed. Paula Guran, Prime Books, 2012
* Monsters, (nv) Cemetery Dance #61, 2009
The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: 2010 ed. Paula Guran, Prime Books, 2010
Halloween ed. Paula Guran, Prime Books, 2011
October Dreams II ed. Richard Chizmar & Robert Morrish, Cemetery Dance Publications, 2015
* New & Noteworthy (with Brooke Allen, Juliet Barker, Alan Buster, Christopher Hitchens, Elizabeth Judd, Christina Schwarz, David Uhlin & Barbara Wallraff), (br) The Atlantic Monthly July/August 2001
* The Novel of the Holocaust, (ss) Fantasy Magazine #2, 2006
Horror: The Best of the Year, 2007 Edition (unpublished) ed. John Gregory Betancourt & Sean Wallace, Prime Books, n.d.
* Pet Sematary, (br) Cemetery Dance #74/75, 2016 [Ref. Stephen King]
* Protection, (ss) ChiZine #47, April/June 2011
* The Reward, (ss) Boston Noir ed. Dennis Lehane, Akashic Books, 2009
* Summer of ’77, (ss) Shivers V ed. Richard Chizmar, Cemetery Dance, 2009
Dark Screams: Volume Nine ed. Richard Chizmar & Brian James Freeman, Hydra, 2018
* 20 Burgers, (ss)
Writers Harvest 3 ed. Tobias Wolff, Delta, 2000
_____, [ref.]
* A Conversation with Stewart O’Nan by Tom Piccirilli, (iv) Cemetery Dance #48, 2004
* Q+A: Stewart O’Nan by Paul G. Tremblay, (iv) Phantom Magazine #0, Fall 2006

pattinase (abbott) said...

Lots of research, Todd. Thanks!
I think he wrote a book with King ?) about circuses. Have to look for it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

A nice overview and review of that one, Tracy.

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