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This Day in History (Iowa Short Fiction Award) Paperback – October 1, 2005
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As is this case with most literary fiction, plot takes a back seat to character, and in some of these stories, there's very little plot even by short story standards - just a series of impressions of key moments in characters' lives. But the emotional impact of those gradually accruing impressions pack such a wallop that you're left feeling far more dazzled than you could be by any standard plot arc. Some of these stories were so moving, I immediately re-read them just to fully appreciate their emotional weight. These are stories that I will turn back to again and again. I was particularly blown away by "The Miles Between Harriet Tubman and Harriet Truman," which focuses on a young boy who's the child of divorced parents and who tricks his father into spending more time with him by giving the wrong directions about where he should be returned to his mother after his brief visits with his dad.
The writing here is masterful. Every story offers at least one gem of a metaphor.Read more ›
Varallo has a light touch and like Updike, I think it's safe to say that his default mode is the comic; at the same time, Varallo is capable of revealing character in ways that are deft, sometimes devastating, truly skillful.
This collection should be read widely and by everyone who loves short stories and contemporary fiction. I think Varallo deserves a large readership.