by Cooley Windsor
Northwestern University Press, 2008
eISBN: 978-0-8101-6332-4 | Paper: 978-0-8101-2496-7
Library of Congress Classification PS3623.I624V47 2008
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.6


Deftly moving between the comic and the tragic, the sacred and the profane, this collection of short stories is populated by modern children, ancient poets, dying men, and your basic, mundane Greek gods. Windsor turns familiar stories from the Bible and from myth inside out, exploring the feelings of minor characters and looking at events from imaginative perspectives. His prose is rich with detail and emotion and he touches on themes of art and artifice, success and failure, family and its sacrifices, and expectations met or missed.

In “The Last Israelite in the Red Sea,” a follower of Moses who dallies during their Exodus finds it more difficult to walk across the bottom of the temporarily displaced Red Sea without shoes. “Four of the Times My Sister Cried” follows a young narrator as his family rehearses for his mother’s death and then, as they must, lives without her. The wry “The Art of War” has characters from Homer to a courtesan talking shop about the battle of Troy from their perspectives. Set as a series of short pieces, “The Fleshly School of Poetry” tells of lessons learned and lessons taught. With its explorations of expectations, “Meet the Author” gives readers intimate portraits of various plans or coping mechanisms people put up when death draws close. “The End of the World” approaches the Rapture with a humorously practical spin: wouldn’t the angels need a plan to ensure that it goes smoothly? “In Parting” explores some of the troubles with family, especially when a sister’s child turns out to be a marionette. The geographically explicit “Three Mediums in San Francisco” touches on frustrated and imagined eroticism. The collection ends with “The Hilton Epiphany,” a fitting closer in which divinity comes to an unlikely person in an unlikely place.

See other books on: California | Fiction | Stories
See other titles from Northwestern University Press