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IMMORTALITY (and other short stories): meditations on the beauty of this finite life Paperback – March 20, 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Josh Barkey was raised from diapers to diploma in the Amazon Basin of Peru, South America, then paid for an English degree by sticking hundreds of thousands of baby trees into Canadian dirt. Now he lives in an ivy-encrusted shed in North Carolina, arranging words and making art. He can be found online at www.joshbarkey.com
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 20, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1482611740
  • ISBN-13: 978-1482611748
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,779,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Williamson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The short story as a genre is sometimes a hard one to define. It has been classified by some as an apprenticeship form preceding more lengthy works, and by others as a crafted form in its own right. In either case, one can only hope that this is the author's launchpad to more.

Josh Barkey's IMMORTALITY (AND OTHER SHORT STORIES) is a fascinating collection of twenty-two tales that manage to cover a wide array of topics and geographic locations, and his characters are memorable in their own right. In these tales we meet Jono as he confronts a horsefly in a most surprising way. We encounter a very profane parrot with one particular repeated word, along with its owner. There's Thurman Bellweather, a grizzled man of fifty-nine, who goes through a surprising metamorphosis of sorts on a September morning. We meet Kurt, the fierce tiger hunter at the age of ten, and then there's Paddington, propped on a corner shelf, in his second life when most bears only got one.

Author Barkey's characters come to life with his descriptions, and the title story 'Immortality' is a good sendoff to this collection, right from the beginning. In 'Fear: a Love Story' we encounter Madeleine Beauregard, a confident woman from outward appearances, but with her own inner fears. It's the way that the author puts together descriptions that bring the reader back to read certain passages over and again, as can be seen here:

"Madeleine was thirty-one, and possessed of librarian good looks and a breezy savoir-faire that could easily drive a man to distraction... and often did.
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Format: Paperback
So much of what IMMORTALITY: Meditations on the beauty of this finite life is right in front of us, on the cover, in the art - which happens also to be the work of the writer (Josh Barkey is an accomplished satirical painter and draughtsman with gifts that have only begun to gestate): a man/boy sits on the edge of a high cliff, head bowed in frustration, while in one hand he holds a string attached to a floating anvil (in his original art the floating anvil includes a paused riding butterfly) - inconsistencies, dissonances, paradoxes, and a touch of madness.

What happens in this little miracle of a debut is the discovery of Josh Barkey, a young imaginative iconoclast who has such a fine way with words that each of these twenty two stories - in some ways related to the fact that despite the bumps in the road, the fleeting moments of incivility, the occasional kick to the gonads - is another way of affirming that Life is beautiful.
In his initial title story (which feels more than a bit autobiographical) about two immigrants from Peru who find work in Vancouver planting trees: `Something about it clicked for Joey...The raw, unmitigated communion with the wild woods. The daily battle against the land, the sky, and most of all, himself. It was like he was born to put trees in the ground. Joey sank into that world. He `became' planting.' Something about the strange occupation, the words, the comma placement makes us think there is joy here. But as is so often the manner in which Barkey opens a story, the real message is in the first sentence: `Nobody ever blamed me for it, but love can kill you just as quick as anything. He [Joey] was there, after all, because of me.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was surprised by the ending of the first story ("Immortality")! Then later, while reading "Love, in a Taxi", I was told the ending in the first sentence, but somehow still didn't see it coming.

Each story was engaging and unique! The book is well written and enjoyable to read, I Highly recommend it!

I was thinking of lending it to my friends, but I'm just gonna make them buy a copy for themselves instead!! :)
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Format: Paperback
I imagine this author to be extremely intelligent and full of vibrant spirit - one of those students that sat in class and each time he raised his hand, everyone listened, enraptured by his wit and point of view. Or perhaps he was the student they all hated out of envy - he showed up late or texted during the professors lesson, but was always the first to answer correctly. He aced the class and everyone wondered "What can't this guy do?".
Each of these short stories is reading art. It is poignant and real. It does not care if it offends but pushes on through, driving the point home. I like to feel immersed when I read - to lose myself to the golden trail of imagination and joy. Each tale drew me in deep and held me under until they suddenly ended and I realized I needed to come up for air. That is a rare thing today, indeed.
Methinks this author is a diamond among glass. If you're considering this book, hesitate no longer. You won't be disappointed. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
- Ashley L. Knight, author of The FINS Trilogy
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author has gathered together a nice assortment of "coming of age" short stories. Many seemed based on real life and have engaging characters caught in dilemmas often not of their own making. Themes of family, competition and friendship are common throughout. I must admit, though, that the first couple of stories about the logging and reforesting experiences were the best of the bunch. I felt they were the most unique and compelling. Some of the others felt a little too familiar and more derivative. But all of them were entertaining, and I would recommend the book to readers who enjoy the short story format.
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