Distant Friends and Intimate Strangers

Charles East, Author, East, Author University of Illinois Press $14.95 (185p) ISBN 978-0-252-06579-8
East's last short-story collection, Where the Music Was, was published in 1965. After reading this exceptional new volume, readers will be sorry he waited so long to publish another. Each and every one of the 14 pieces gathered here brims with unflinching honesty, insight and heart. Almost uncomfortably realistic, they draw you immediately inside characters whose lives are painfully slipping through their fingers. One older woman recalls ""The Second Summer of the War"" and the innocence and foreboding that determined stateside relationships. ""Mr. Alello,"" a story written with rare candor, is about the end of one man's long life--it's a lonely finale, one without dignity or real meaning. ""Where did all those good dreams go bad?"" asks Ernie in ""Crazy Heart"" as he looks back on his failed marriage. East forces us to acknowledge that there is no age at which one has all the answers. Instead, age saps surety. These stories are about loneliness, longing, old age, nostalgia, regret, the loss of desire and the burden of memory, lost dreams, unanswered questions and unexpected answers. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1996
Release date: 10/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
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