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The First Light of Evening (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

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Length: 16 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In addition to their commute-length convenience and bite-size addictiveness, short stories have the benefit of highlighting subtleties that might easily get lost in the shuffle of a longer work. Mark Pothier makes the most of this quality in The First Light of Evening, a brief and thoughtful story sketched in a narrow frame. Jim's wife left him a few years ago, having fallen out of love with his melancholy and his preference for solitude; now he sits in his back room, "reading the many books I always said I would read if given the chance." Jim's well-meaning daughter sets him up with Carolyn, a recovering alcoholic, and they go on a date in the chilly outer avenues of San Francisco. I'm afraid I've given the plot away, but it doesn't matter--stories like Pothier's shine in the white space between actions. This snapshot of two strong-minded, vulnerable people acknowledging their own flaws without apology reminds us that insight often comes not in dramatic bursts but in quiet, awkward moments. --Mia Lipman

Review

"The First Light of Evening explores the life of Jim, who would rather not have it explored. Marriage over and retired, Jim has spent the last few years reading all the books he said he would, and then his daughter sets him up on a date. An elegantly written Kindle Single, Pothier makes every word count without creating the rushed or crammed feeling the format can often take. I'll be looking for additional works by this author!" -- Jason Weisberger, BoingBoing.com

"Pothier is a gentle writer, taking time to expand into an idea, with a talent for making circular internal monologue interesting. The inner mind ramblings of his protagonist become more interesting than the conversations he is having, as he tries to understand himself through his environment and through his interactions with the people around him. What should be a rather dull, and self obsessive short story, becomes charming, delicate and emotionally intelligent as it unfolds." -- LisaThatcher.wordpress.com

"A sweet and bittersweet story about a man who finds himself alone when he never expected to be, and has to figure out what to do next and who he really is. There are moments of real beauty in this story, and perhaps some notes of warning, too." -- TungstenHippo.com

Product Details

  • File Size: 92 KB
  • Print Length: 16 pages
  • Publication Date: September 18, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009DPGOOY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,713 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Mark Ernest Pothier's first published story won a Chicago Tribune/Nelson Algren Award, and his Kindle Singles, "The First Light of Evening" and "The Man Who Owns Little," have been downloaded by thousands and produced by Audible.

He lives in San Francisco's Outer Richmond district with his wife and kids, holds an MFA from SF State, and is polishing his debut novel. (Portrait photo: Jason Doiy)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By J. Chambers HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on September 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
In "The First Light of Evening," the author wrote of experiences and emotions that many people can relate to. The story began three years after Jackie had left Jim. Jim was to all appearances content to live his quiet, reclusive life reading the books he's always wanted to read. Then along came Carolyn to complicate his life. With the always awkward first date out of the way, the story ended with no clear resolution. Would the two see each other again, or would they choose to continue with their solitary lives, uncomplicated by new relationships?

The story, short as it was, explored a theme that is all too common today: the gradual drifting apart of a couple and the dissolution of their marriage, the aftermath, and the forging of new relationships as people moved on with their lives. The story was told very simply, with no big action scenes, no O'Henry twist at the end, just a little slice-of-life account of two ordinary people weighing the merits of entering a new relationship versus the safety of continuing on their separate but lonely paths.

Stories like "The First Light of Evening" give me reassurance that the art of the short story is still alive.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Eric Bagan on September 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Like all first-rate stories, each line in "The First Light of Evening" is ABOUT something, freighted with meaning and insight yet leading to something gloriously inchoate. With stunning precision, Mark Pothier maps the tortuous territory of the middle-aged male psyche and explores loneliness and regret with masterly restraint. The narrator Jim is caught in the net of his own actions which are as frustrating to himself as they are to those around him. Watching Jim learn to live without his dreams and struggle toward redemption is deeply moving and the story's end elicits that rare, sharp intake of breath and pang of feeling provoked by the best work of Alice Munro and Tobias Wolff. I look forward with keen anticipation to a collection from Mark Pothier.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By melindaroo on September 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
With this spare and elegant story, not a word in it wasted, Mark Pothier has done one of the hardest things a writer can do: speak in the voice of a reticent man. A reticent man would just as soon not speak; he would just as soon sit in silence and read the words of others. He would just as soon not ruminate or agonize over the loss of love and the imminence of decline, let alone divulge those ruminations to others. He would be content to remain at a remove, a preference that, for this man, has cost him dearly: he is uneasily estranged from his adult daughter, and his wife has left him, because, we suspect, he has shaped his life around his own distance from it, drawn a circle around himself into which not even those he loves most can step.

Pothier inhabits a man who would prefer not to be inhabited, speaks in his reluctant voice, in which the pauses and silences say as much as the words. He inhabits a man who inches tentatively toward connection, folds it into his experience, allows himself a glimmer of hope even as he mourns what he has lost. He gives us the story of a man, in his own words, who has always preferred not to tell his story. We readers are the richer for it, and grateful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Colton on October 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You'd think a story of a marriage that ended unilaterally after all those years would be terribly sad. There's a bit of melancholy here but the story's far from depressing. It's a little slice of life, a snippet. I would call it very broad and not very wide: what I mean is, I felt like I knew the main character very well at that moment in time; better than I've known protagonists of much longer works. But we readers don't really know much about him because we don't know who he will be or how he will react in another minute or to another circumstance. Those things are the work of a novel, not of a story. I think "First Light" works about perfectly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Newsy1 on October 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a great short story, although I am partial to shorts anyway as they can pack a wallop without endless words. I am in an age group that can probably most understand this short about a man in the sunset of his life who ends up alone and not by choice. Actually, he did have a choice at one time but spent too many years focusing on himself and not his marriage or family. A good lesson here, even if one was not intended.This is the first piece I have read by this author but will be looking for more. Author of Widows Like Me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Derek T. Jones on October 14, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The prose is densely wound here; each sentence carries a freight of many years and I found myself slowing my reading pace down to match it. One of the most powerful quotes for me was this one: "If you're to be honest, you have to begin doubting that you ever loved an actual person. ...I am no longer angry at her for ceasing to love me; I am angry she found out before I did."

For those who find this story to be about too little, or not uplifting: come back to it later, when you're older, and can relate to the narrator's losses.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Patricia J. Mills on October 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There comes a time in life that me must understand that we are, indeed, alone, whether or not we share a life with another. It is then that we must make the decision if it is worth the trouble involved to pursue another relationship.or to enjoy our solitude , particularly if we have forged our own condition over the years.

This is a deep, thought provoking, short story that has been beautifully written. Well worth the time and money!!!
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