From Publishers Weekly
Hey, Eddie, can you get us a ride," starts the Bruce Springsteen song, "Meeting Across the River," from his classic 1975 album Born to Run
. With its spare lyrics and the moody trumpet playing in the background, Springsteen's song tells the tale of two smalltime losers out for one last try at the brass ring, and provides the inspiration behind the 20 stories found in this imaginative and enjoyable anthology. The 16 readers assembled for this recording are as eclectic as the stories they narrate. Stefan Rudnicki, who also produced the program, brings a feeling of doomed noir to Wallace Stroby's moving "Lovers in the Cold." Maxwell Caufield does an excellent job with Paul Charles's amusing Irish story "In the Midnight Hour"; and Harlan Ellison supplies a rich, no-holds-barred reading of Peter David's inspired fantasy, "Killing Time by the River Styx," while Cara Black's "Mosquito Incense," set in Japan, is given just the right sense of melancholia by Moira Quirk. Other notable readers include John Rubinstein, Arte Johnson, Gabrielle de Cuir, Richard Brewer and a most effective Orson Scott Card, reading Jessica Kaye's "Drink to Long Life." From New Jersey to the afterlife, these are 20 rides worth taking. (Nov.)
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The characters in these stories inspired by Bruce Springsteen's song about a promised land, "Meeting across the River," will never grasp or even fully comprehend such a place. For them, as in the song, the promised land remains elusive. The song, of course, leaves a lot of details to the imagination, which allows the contributors to this collection to fill in the blanks. All the song reveals is some small-time hoods, a "last chance" deal that is about to go down across a river, an unnamed narrator, a guy named Eddie, and a reward of "two grand." Will girlfriend Cherry stay? It appears doubtful. On so enigmatic a foundation, 20 diverse stories have been erected, most the work of already published, if not particularly well known, writers who have put their hearts into fleshing out tales of small-time losers, petty criminals, and other assorted misfits who dare to dream of a promised land. June SawyersCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved