EXCERPT: Both Minton plots were now occupied – Jinelle’s for three decades, Arnold’s for three days – and Sandy had been office manager at the cemetery for so long that she could locate individual graves for visitors without consulting the logbook. Temporary workers enjoyed quizzing her, flipping open the registry and asking, for example, where Maryann Lewis was interred, but Sandy would shoot back: ‘Do you mean Maryann Lewis died 1977 or Maryann Lewis died 1984?’ When the temps enquired why she had mastered what seemed to them like a morbid parlour trick, or when a feature writer for the local paper delved into Sandy’s motives, she always replied, ‘Busy hands are happy hands and an idle mind is the Devil’s workshop,’ which seemed satisfactory to everyone, although it wasn’t quite clear how memorizing maps of the dead kept one’s hands occupied. It was the sort of response people expected from a homely, church-going spinster. If she had explained her desire to preserve a living memory of the deceased – the way the Jews consecrate the legacy of the holocaust – her inquisitors might think her cuckoo. Instead they thought her upright, straight-shooting, knowledgeable, generous, witty, a lady of considerable spirit, but leading a life as lacklustre as cold porridge. Which it often was.
And now father was dead and Victoria was coming home. Victoria who had done nothing and gotten everything, while Sandy did everything and got nothing. Though you wouldn’t put it to folks that way. – Excerpt taken from The Other Sister
ABOUT ‘WINTER HONEYMOON’: From a widow pursuing an old flame to an architect caught in a collapsing relationship, WINTER HONEYMOON reminds us that life is fleeting but love, in all its forms, is a survivor. These are stories of sometimes quiet, sometimes incredible, and always complex lives that shout at us in their telling. With Jacob Appel’s devilish eye for detail, the stakes grow, the plots turn, and the reader is hit in the head as much as the heart. These are as much affirmations as they are stories, and this is an adventurous and accomplished collection by any measure
MY THOUGHTS: A collection of nine short stories from master storyteller Jacob M. Appel.
While Appel portrays the lives of ordinary people from extraordinary viewpoints, I missed the sense of ridiculousness that he normally infuses his stories with. This collection left me feeling sad, rather than with a smile on my face.
I rated the individual stories as follows:
Winter Honeymoon ⭐⭐⭐.5
The Apprenticeship ⭐⭐.5
The Other Sister ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Before the Storm ⭐⭐⭐
Iceberg Potential ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Pay as You Go ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
After Valentino ⭐⭐
#contemporaryfiction #deathanddying #historicalfiction #shortstories #sliceoflife
THE AUTHOR: 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 a digital ARC of Winter Honeymoon by Jacob M. Appel for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
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