Author Duane Simolke introduces us to The Acorn Stories:
The Sky Is Always Falling in This West Texas Town!
These tales explore the humor, drama, secrets, and scandals of a small town.
From romantic comedy to razor-sharp satire to moments of quiet reflection, Duane Simolke’s award-winning tales transform a fictional West Texas town into a tapestry of human experiences.
˃˃˃ The Individual Stories:
“Acorn”: When we arrive at the fictional West Texas town of Acorn, the narrative keeps shifting between Regina and Dirk, who both seek control over their relationship.
“Flip, Turn”: A different scene from the narrator's amusing but unproductive life comes to him every time he turns to swim in the opposite direction.
“Keeping A Secret”: A little boy wants to shield his mother and his little brother from a dangerous situation.
“Survival”: A young high school teacher, deaf and gay, clashes with a popular football coach.
“Paying The Rent”: In this politically incorrect tale, an inarticulate young man hopes to marry a rich woman so he can pay the rent, but he finds her repulsive.
“Morgana Le Fay”: A widow finds her new romance disrupted by her Siamese cat's strange behavior.
“Your Daughter”: Gretchen's approach to raising a daughter and maintaining a marriage requires ignoring problems and carefully orchestrating conversations.
“Knock”: A father sees his daughter abandon her Mexican heritage, and he now fears other types of abandonment.
“Come With Me”: The conflicting influence of her overbearing sister and her supportive husband forces Becky to re-evaluate her ambitions.
“Dead Enough”: Farcical look at English departments, tabloid TV, the publishing industry, and America's superstar culture.
“Mae”: Standing by her husband's grave, an elderly woman looks back at the joys and challenges of marriage and motherhood.
“Timothy Fast”: In this satirical retelling of the Faustian myth, a Jewish businessman finds himself pulled into small-town politics.
“Mirrors: A Blackmail Letter”: The owner of an art gallery becomes the target of a “family values” witch-hunt, spear-headed by Acorn's closeted (and supposedly “ex-gay”) mayor.
“Echoes”: A time of unexpected changes for Becky and her husband.
“Oak”: Julie Briggs can only talk to her mother by leaving messages on her answering machine, but she refuses to give up her voice.
“Acorn Pie”: An unusual weekend in the life of an unusual town.
I found this wonderful collection of related short stories to be fully engaging! I was completely drawn into these true-to-life vignettes of a fictional small town. I grew up in a small town, and found so much to relate to in these stories. While the setting of west Texas is Duane’s choice, these people could really fit in a small town anywhere.
I really enjoyed the structure of the book, the way Duane had characters popping in and out of different situations. Some of these made me laugh, some of these brought tears to my eyes. I found the common thread of acceptance flowing in and around each of the stories. My first thought after reading the book was to read it again, so I could have greater appreciation for the intertwined relationships! One read is not enough.
I loved this book so much. You will love it too for the regionalism and the glimpse into life in a small American town. Acorn Stories gets a score of 4.7 of 5 Stars. The score would have been higher except for a small handful of spelling errors.
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Tags: humor, Texas, small town, relationships, gay, Americana
Copyright © 2018 Mark L Schultz except for the author's introduction
Who am I?
An avid reader, typobuster, and the Hyper-Speller. I am a husband, father, and grandfather.
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