Eight Stories In Search of an Editor: A Review of Jacob M. Appel, Scouting for the Reaper
Eight Stories In Search of an Editor:
A Review of Jacob M. Appel,
Scouting for the Reaper
Black Lawrence Press, 2014, 194 pp.
ISBN 978-1-1937854-95-9 (Paperback), USA $15.95
Jacob M. Appel writes an excellent story. This collection, winner of the Hudson Prize from Black Lawrence Press, contains eight fine fictions. Each story is substantial, twenty to thirty pages; each develops a full cast of characters; each delivers an engaging plot with a satisfying ending. Appel’s dialogue is always spot-on and his stories portray the emotional complexities of truly human characters. His language is witty in the best sense: precise, clever and gently playful.
Appel is also a versatile writer, able to create, in this collection, both male and female narrators of all ages, all believable. The first three stories in the book use first-person narration by adolescents, two female and one male. The next three stories are told from the points of view of elderly female narrators, using close third-person narration. The last two stories are told in first person again, but this time by middle-aged men. This kind of deft literary ventriloquism makes sense, coming from a writer who is himself the very epitome of versatility. Appel is a . . .
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