Wednesday, November 15, 2023



(from the archives)

This has been one of my favorite collections of stories since I came across it in the nineties. Marly Swick, now a retired English professor in Missouri (I think), seems to have written all of her stories and two novels in the nineties and early 2000s. Since that was the time I was writing mainstream short stories too, I bought a lot of collections. Swick's are very straightforward, easy to read stories. 

The title story is about the breakup of a marriage and much of it takes places during a trip to see the Beatles that the mother takes her daughters on. When she leaves the hotel room in the night and her slip is returned in a paperbag the next day, it drives the older daughter out of the house. It also changes the daughter's taste in music overnight from the Beatles to the edgier groups. 

The second story "Ghost Mother" is a favorite of mine. Two screenwriters are adopting a baby from a mid-western teen, who moves into their house for the end of the pregnancy. It is a very poignant yet not sad story and some of it is framed in how the writer might write it in a screenplay.The reader expects the surrogate mother to be exposed in some way and this never happens to our relief. 

Todd Mason

Kevin Tipple 

George Kelley 

Jerry House


Jeff Meyerson said...

I read this two years ago after you recommended it. Good book. I do remember both of those stories, particularly the second one.

I finished the Ed Hoch book and I am reading a Charles Beaumont collection, THE CARNIVAL and OTHER STORIES. Beaumont is remembered today mostly for his work on The Twilight Zone, and some of the stories here were adapted for that show.

Todd Mason said...

Oddly enough, that title has stuck with me over the years, moreso than Swick's name...thanks for the reminder and the assembly!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, that would be my only contact with Beaumont's. Be fun to find a streaming site and watch his episodes.

TracyK said...

I will put this book on my list of short story books to look for at the book sale next year. They had a huge selection this year and I could not resist a lot of them.

Margot Kinberg said...

Definitely an author I need to try. I'd heard of her but not (yet) read her. I should.

Todd Mason said...

Patti, Charles Beaumont also is more than worth your time as a prose writer, and his work on such theatrical films as the Fritz Leiber adaptation NIGHT OF THE EAGLE (UK)/BURN WITCH BURN! (US) (co-scripted with Richard Matheson and George Chesbro, as Beaumont was already in need of some physical assistance by the early '60s) is more than interesting. His did tend to be among the best TZs.