Reviewer Ekta Garg: Ekta has actively written and edited since 2005 for publications like: The Portland Physician Scribe; the Portland Home Builders Association home show magazines; ABCDlady; and The Bollywood Ticket. With an MSJ in magazine publishing from Northwestern University Ekta also maintains The Write Edge- a professional blog for her writing. In addition to her writing and editing, Ekta maintains her position as a “domestic engineer”—housewife—and enjoys being a mother to two beautiful kids.
Publisher: Serving House Books
Author: Gladys Swan
Publisher: Serving House Books
Author Gladys Swan has enjoyed a long writing career producing novels, essays, poetry, and short fiction. Her latest book brings to readers in one book some of her more well-known stories as well as brand new fiction in The Tiger’s Eye: New and Selected Stories. For lovers of the short story form—and especially those who enjoy stories with a literary bent—this book is a must read.
The stories in this book present readers with a variety of situations and characters. “Flight” introduces readers to Orlie Benedict, a wanderer who finds himself in the home of a man in even more dire straits than himself. In “Getting an Education” protagonist Crystal Munsinger strikes a friendship with college professor Dr. Findlay “Finney” Brightwood. As Crystal searches for her purpose in life, for something that anchors her existence, she learns that Dr. Brightwood is not what his first impression purports him to be. The title story “The Tiger’s Eye” relays the tale of retiree Walter Lawrence who has formed a bond with a Bengal tiger in the zoo; the two share their deepest selves, their fears, their failures, and their suspicions. In “Venus Rising” main character Jacoby comes to appreciate his wife only after it’s too late to tell her he feels that way.
Some stories may not present readers with neatly-packaged endings. A satisfying conclusion eludes readers in stories like “The Demon of Forgetfulness” about a man left in a run-down apartment building by his son and whose only outlet for intelligent communication is through letters with a published author. In “Dreaming Crow” the protagonist relates his interactions with close friend and war veteran Ernie who succumbs to the nightmares clouding his memories. “The Old Hotel” recounts the tale of a daughter who watches her parents try unsuccessfully to revive an old hotel; the story will surprise readers even as it leaves them wanting more.
And this proves to be the hallmark of Swan’s work. Even the stories that don’t provide the now-familiar instant gratification so easily available in our current age—even those stories will make readers wish for a few hundred more words so the journey with the characters in question doesn’t end so quickly. Swan’s writing clearly reflects the style and expectation of a different generation—her characters don’t text one another and they aren’t haunting one another on Facebook—but even readers so used to modern “conveniences” will be able to appreciate Swan’s engaging tone and attention to detail. Such talents develop only after years of practice and attention to one’s craft, something even 21st-century readers can recognize.
While it is possible that only academics may like the length—at 23 stories and 371 pages, readers may find the size of this short-story collection a little daunting—this reviewer recommends this book especially for those who enjoy real literary fiction.
Click Here To Purchase The Tiger's Eye: New & Selected Stories