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Tracks: A Novel in Stories Paperback – June 30, 2011
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"... a most cunningly crafted tale--a perfect read for trains, planes and automobiles... or even for your armchair."
--Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Souls' Rising
Goodman skillfully weaves stories of chance encounters, lost opportunities and new beginnings into a tight, colorful, breathtaking tapestry ... --Bathsheba Monk, author of Nude Walker
From the Inside Flap
Eric Goodman's Tracks is a most cunningly crafted talea perfect read for trains, planes and automobiles... or even for your armchair. -- Madison Smartt Bell, Author of All Souls' Rising Eric D. Goodman's Tracks is an absolute delight. The beautifully written stories of strangers riding the same train will hypnotically pull you in and captivate you to the very end. --Jessica Anya Blau, Author of Drinking Closer to Home and The Summer of Naked Swim Parties From the first story in Eric D. Goodman's novel in stories, Tracks, I knew I was in for an enjoyable ride. Goodman is a keen, compassionate and refreshingly un-ironic observer of the human condition. In Tracks, Goodman skillfully weaves stories of chance encounters, lost opportunities and new beginnings into a tight, colorful, breathtaking tapestry which he says is a train ride, but seems an awful lot like life. --Bathsheba Monk, Author of Nude Walker and Now You See I...Goodman limns the lives of his charactersall travelers on the same trainwith a light and sensitive touch, yet he manages to delve deep, right to their very hearts. By turns comic and poignant, these pilgrims are united in one significant way: they all seek to make sense of life's unpredictable journey. --Yona Zeldis McDonough, Author of Breaking the Bank Who among us hasn't sat on a train and played at reading the minds of strangers? In this way, Tracks is a voyeuristic fantasy fulfilled. But here's the real surprise: Once you have mental telepathy, it's hard to call anyone a stranger anymore. --Aaron Henkin, Baltimore's NPR station, WYPR In Tracks, Goodman manages to capture the complicated push and pull of family, of friends, of history, of lifehow it bears down on each of us, pulling us apart while simultaneously pushing us together. His characters are, in turn, compassionate, indifferent, bitter, sympathetic, wistful, and most of all, real. I recognized parts of myself in each one of them, and I imagine this is exactly what Goodman intended. Tracks is a wonderful debut. --Mary Beth Keane, Author of The Walking People Eric D. Goodman gets on board a fictional train from Baltimore to Chicago to tell the compelling stories of passengers taking inner journeys. From the couple who define the beauty of silence, to the last hurrah of a hit man, Tracks is insightful, engaging and, in so many ways, truly moving. --Toby Devens, Author of My Favorite Midlife Crisis (Yet) "I have long been a fan of Eric D. Goodman's taut naturalistic fiction, so I came to Tracks with almost unfairly high expectations. I was not disappointed. Read these linked stories separately for their rich textures, their well-drawn characters, and their breathtaking moments of epiphany. Then read them again in sequence, allowing the cumulative power, the subtle connections and insights to reach their full force. Tracks is an unforgettable journey that cuts deep furrows in both the inner and the outer landscape." --Patry Francis, Author of The Liar's Diary "In an age of twitter, microfiction, and small attention spans, the stories in Eric D. Goodman's Tracks are built on narrative fiction and the U.S. rail system, both of which are seemingly pronounced dead every new decade. But like a good meal, these stories of strangers on a train marinate and simmer, creating a flavor that is richer than their parts. Goodman's alternating harsh and tender stories travel the spectrum of human emotion, and his care for his characters is evident from the first page to the last. By the end, we have not only lived through every character, but we are every character." --Jen Michalski, Author of Close Encounters and May-September Eric D. Goodman's scintillating first novel-in-stories is a tour-de-force If one of the goals of great fiction is to set forth into new fictional territory, Tracks is that. And then some. --Nathan Leslie, Author of Believers, Madre, and Drivers "In the best literary tradition of The Decameron, The Canterbury Tales, and Spoon River Anthology, Goodman's novel-in-stories reveals the rich textures and patterns in the tapestry of human experience. Tracks is elemental storytelling." --D.R. Belz, Author of White Asparagus In an age of commuter rush, virtual friends, and novels written in 140-character bursts, Eric D. Goodman reminds us of the richness of train travel or a good book: when the pace is slower, you never know what sort of souls will greet you. --Gregg A. Wilhelm, Executive Director, CityLit Project Eric D. Goodman is a virtuoso; he breathes life into each character in such a way that you want to know everything about them, and each story makes you want to read the next to see how these lives intersect. Even when Tracks ends, it continues in the mind, leaving you wanting to know more, thinking about not only the lives of these multi-faceted characters, but your own life and the lives of those around you. Life is a journey and Tracks captures that feeling in a way that few interconnected story collections do. --Nancy Greene, Author of Portraits in the Dark Get on board Eric D. Goodman's Tracks for a rollicking ride from Baltimore to Chicago with a passenger list of colorful characters told in Goodman's witty, confidential style. -- Charles Rammelkamp, author of The Secretkeepers and Castleman in the Academy
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The author takes us on a journey beyond the faces and facades of passengers, revealing their inner doubts and hopes. I found myself caring deeply for these fictional characters, empathizing with their dramas and dreams. As the hit man, Charlie, concludes: "So many people going in the same direction, yet all headed for different places."
I grew up in a train family. Both my grandfather and his brother worked for the B&O and Pennsy lines, respectively. Train stories whistled throughout my childhood. I remember Grandpa Joe describing the dining cars on some of the older trains, and wrote a poem called "Train Talk." Eric Goodman's "Tracks" renewed that conversation for me. These stories stir a gamut of emotions - adults are complicated creatures after all. This is a book that resonates with honesty, as well as entertains. You will want to stay aboard until the ride ends.
Let's hope Eric Goodman chooses to write a sequel. After all, he left us in Chicago, and we need to get back to Baltimore! "Tracks II" appeals.
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