Amazing Things Are Happening Here by Jacob M. Appel

Amazing Things Are Happening Here by Jacob M. Appel

EXCERPT: (from the short story Live Shells)The decades are creased into Donald’s face like the rings of a tree. He’s grown a beard, put on weight, sprouted hair from the cusps of his ears. I approach unseen in the shade of a coconut palm and listen to his speculations on the recent cold snap and the prospects for the upstate orange crop while Grandmama nods and smiles and clicks her knitting needles together as though she’s heard it all before. She was already an old woman when I married Donald and she can no longer tell the difference between strangers and long term acquaintances she’s since forgotten, so she hedges her bets, treating even the water-meter man and the Jehovah’s Witness proselytizers like kissing cousins. Donald is no exception. And me? I’m not sure how to proceed after twenty-one years, so I step into the afternoon sunlight, my jaw clenched to hold my composure, but at the very moment when Donald recognizes me, my eyes rivet to the double knot in the right sleeve of his shirt. I stare at the haunting spot where the limb should be, unable to avert my gaze, fully conscious that I’m behaving the perfect fool.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: “In his new short story collection, AMAZING THINGS ARE HAPPENING HERE, Jacob Appel renders our post 9/11 world through a variety of personalities, each narrating their unique and startling stories. Meet the shy high school student with a crush on a girl dying of leukemia, the mother whale who beaches to save her offspring, the search for the VA hospital’s lunatic who goes missing and never returns, and more. We are in the hands of a patient, master artist who watches the world unfolding around him, sees its protagonists’ inadvertent mistakes, and observes them endeavoring to reclaim their dignity. These stories lift us far above the realm of entertainment, and instead enrich and enliven the psyche’s oceanic heights and depths.”–Marilyn Krysl

MY THOUGHTS: What can I possibly say after Marilyn Krysl’s succinct and spot on observation except that Appel is an author who never disappoints, and that I read this wonderful collection in one sitting.

Appel is a master of human observation, and he conveys these observations into quirky and entertaining short stories that reflect our dreams and ambitions, our failings and frailties.

My favorite story in this collection is The Bigamist’s Accomplice, which I featured in my preview of this book on my webpage

THE AUTHOR: Jacob M. Appel’s first novel, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, won the Dundee International Book Award in 2012. His short story collection, Scouting for the Reaper, won the 2012 Hudson Prize. He has published short fiction in more than two hundred literary journals including Agni, Conjunctions, Gettysburg Review, Southwest Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and West Branch. His work has been short listed for the O. Henry Award (2001), Best American Short Stories (2007, 2008), Best American Essays (2011, 2012), and received “special mention” for the Pushcart Prize in 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2013.

Jacob holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Brown University, an M.A. and an M.Phil. from Columbia University, an M.S. in bioethics from the Alden March Bioethics Institute of Albany Medical College, an M.D. from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, an M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University, an M.F.A. in playwriting from Queens College, an M.P.H. from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He currently practices psychiatry in New York City.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Black Lawrence Press via Netgalley for providing me with a digital ARC of Amazing Things Are Happening Here by Jacob M. Appel for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

Author: sandysbookaday

I love good quality chocolate. I love the ocean and love to be in, on or beside it. I read any and every where. I am a proud mum and Nana. I like wine, gin, Southern Comfort, a cold Heineken on a hot day. I am very versatile like that. I cross stitch, do jigsaws, garden, and work on a farm. I am an occasional scribbled. I have far too many books I want to read to ever find the time to die. I am an active member of Goodreads as Sandy *the world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* and review on Amazon under the name Sandyj21. My Goodreads reviews are automatically linked to my Facebook page. Groups I belong to and participate in on Goodreads include: The Mystery, Crime and Thriller Group; Mysteries and Crime Thrillers; Psychological Thrillers; Reading for Pleasure; Crime Detective Mystery Thrillers; English Mysteries; Dead Good Crime; Kindle English Mystery, All About Books and NZ Readers. April 2016 I made the Top 1% of Goodreads reviewers (As follows) Hello Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*, In our community of readers, you stand out in a notable way: You're one of the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads! With every rave and every pan, with every excited GIF and every critical assessment, you've helped the Goodreads community get closer to a very important milestone – the 50 Million Reviews mark!

3 thoughts on “Amazing Things Are Happening Here by Jacob M. Appel”

  1. Wonderful review Sandy. I have a few of his books to read, I should tee one up to read a story when I am short time. That way I will get to enjoy this author you speak so highly of. Hope you are doing well Sandy.

    Liked by 1 person

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