- Hardcover: 248 pages
- Publisher: Short Story America Press (2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0988249723
- ISBN-13: 978-0988249721
- Package Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.5 inches
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,126,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Other World Hardcover – 2013
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From the author of the modern classic novel THE HEADMASTER'S PAPERS comes this masterpiece collection of short fiction, a cycle of stories told by the main character, Jonathan Force. Contemporary boys and the men they become are in an altogether new kind of peril; they are no longer merely adrift as Holden Caulfield once was in mid-twentieth century Manhattan; they are broken and finished, like the authors of our era’s schoolyard shootings. The stories that unfold in THE OTHER WORLD address the inner life of boys in a way that offers a bigger, better vision, charting the formative experiences of a spirited boy who, by an admixture of grace, luck, and indomitable spirit, does not bow finally before the cultural imperatives to forfeit his deep nature—although he comes very close. Attentive readers are likely to find these stories touching, at times funny, and ultimately inspiring. Blake Bailey, author of CHEEVER: A LIFE, writes:" Richard Hawley explores, with eloquence and sensitivity, the secret lives of children and the unexpected moments that linger in memory and give shape to our souls. A stunning collection." Ann Hood, author of THE OBITUARY WRITER, calls THE OTHER WORLD "both a tender and harsh coming-of-age story." As John Irving writes of the author, "Richard Hawley has the poise and vision to create an entire world."
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Top customer reviews
" . . . I am fascinated by the look of the snow resting on the branches of the cedars, how the snow holds rosy afternoon light, and all of it is saying “afterward,” as if beauty itself was explaining the end of beauty. . . Somehow the snow on the branches in the declining afternoon and the cedar boughs sparkling with lights and ornaments beyond my crib on that first Christmas morning form a single picture, and it is all Christmas, and it is forever about to begin and yet has always been over."
This is what Richard Hawley does best: He freezes those fleeting moments in everyday life – they’re more like nanoseconds, really – when ‘beginning’ and ‘end’ merge into ‘always,’ and we are blessed with the vision to see it. In simple but masterful prose, Hawley crystallizes those brief, occasional glimpses of eternity, allowing us to hold them and look at them and even feel them again. And what they feel like is all the joy and sorrow a heart can bear simultaneously, without bursting into smithereens.
Though not remotely “religious” – not in the sense that we use that word these days, anyway – 'The Other World' is about nothing less than man’s fall from the garden . . . that Blakean trek we all make from innocence to experience. Yes, it’s a coming-of-age story, and we readers have been here before . . . but never quite like this. Though his voice is wonderfully original, Jonathan Force may remind you of a less neurotic, less angry, not-quite-so-profane Holden Caulfield; there is something slightly Salinger-esque about what Hawley is doing in these stories, I think. There is also something of C.S. Lewis’ “faroff country” in Hawley’s wistful depictions of the other world – that holy dimension, sanctified by the imagination, that begins to lose its “mythy tug” as we age. This reader is deliriously happy when she finds intimations of Salinger and Lewis in the same book – especially a book featuring praise from John Irving on the cover. We all have our favorite guides to the other world, and those are three of mine. Now I can add Richard Hawley to the list.
Childhood is a well-mapped territory, but no one illuminates what it feels like to be a child better than Hawley. In these stories his character, Jonathan, emerges into consciousness at Christmastime with his family and finds a wonder, “the other world,” that he seeks to find again as he grows into boyhood, makes friends, enters school, goes to camp, tests his prowess, confronts bullies, falls in love, endures humiliations and triumphs, and navigates the conflicts of adolescent and the pressure of looming adulthood. Every reader can identify in one way or another with the episodes in these stories, but what makes each story so moving is Hawley’s ability to retrieve the feelings, the yearnings, the uncertainties, and the profound desire for the ineffable that most of us have forgotten.
An absorbing and book.