Last Car over the Sagamore Bridge

Peter Orner, Author
Peter Orner. Little, Brown, $25 (224p) ISBN 978-0-316-22464-2
Paperback - 198 pages - 978-0-316-22461-1
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-316-22463-5
Hardcover - 123 pages - 978-0-316-40657-4
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-76342-4
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In his second story collection, Orner (Love and Shame and Love) fires jewel-toned shards of fiction into a stunning whole. These tales, many of which are as short as a paragraph, jump back and forth between Fall River, Mass.; Chicago; Russia; the Czech Republic; South Dakota; and other places, as well as skipping across decades. Though most stand alone, several feature the relatives of Horace and Josephine Ginsburg, a family’s “famous once-hads,” whose failed Ponzi scheme ruined their relatives and the whole town. Divided into four parts—“Survivors,” “The Normal,” “In Moscow Everything Will Be Different,” and “Country of Us”—the collection explores the heartache of the past; many stories feature men trying to make sense of the confusing adult world they inhabited as children. Perhaps the most tangible example is the title story, in which Horace’s brother-in-law Walt Kaplan—a daydreaming furniture salesman in 1947—ruminates on the time in 1938 when he made it over the Cape Cod Canal just ahead of a hurricane. Impermanence and longing pervade the collection. In “Fourteen-Year-Olds, Indiana Dunes, Late Afternoon,” one character “rises and stands in the shallow water and faces the beach as the waves break upon the shore, only to fall back toward her,” just as Orner returns over and over to these crystallized moments. Agent: Ellen Levine, Trident Media Group. (Aug.)
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