Fragments & Fictions: Workbooks of an Obscure Writer

William Harwood Peden, Author Watermark Press $14.5 (206p) ISBN 978-0-922820-10-8
``A college professor who, attempting to write something on the blackboard in his sophomore English class, inevitably starts drawing nudes; finally, he falls apart, quits academic life forever.'' Strings of stark story ideas like this one, along with ``minor epiphanies'' about children and fleeting connections among strangers, form the first half of a wide-ranging collection of notes and stories by Peden, University of Missouri professor emeritus; anecdotes about Erskine Caldwell, James Baldwin, Dylan Thomas and other literary lights of the past 50 years round out the self-portrait. ``Fictions,'' the second half of the collection, features 15 of Peden's short works, most of which first appeared in literary magazines. The workbook's notions here bear fruit, as in ``Main Currents in American Thought,'' where a father, on the eve of his death, assures his son, ``The world's not going to come to an end tonight. . . . The world's always coming to an end, son. For somebody. But not for us, not tonight.'' The book offers no conclusions; the author's satisfactions, disappointments and conjectures about human verities are enough. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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