Today I welcome TLC Book Tours back to my blog with a very interesting set of short stories. I invite you to read my review and scroll down to the end of the post to enter to win your own copy.
All of the stories in this collection are set on the small town of Nantucket and take place during a wide range of years, 1795 through 2005. Although the author says that only 2 of the stories have any basis in reality, I think one can learn quite a bit about the history and culture of these interesting island. We learn from one of the stories, “King Philip’s War,” that the island was inhabited by Native Americans long before the British arrived. In this story, the son of a native American finds that bigotry and prejudice against anyone who is not white still exists on the island. Although Jacob has made friends with the white son of a sheep farmer, there is always an underlying resentment in their relationship even though they are just young boys.
The first story in the collection, “Guilty Look, reminds us of the very strong Quaker presence on the island in the 18th and 19th centuries. In this story, which is set in 1795, the Nantucket Bank is robbed and the head of the bank, who is a devout Quaker, immediately fingers the non-Quakers on the island for pulling off the heist. Even when evidence to the contrary is presented, the non-Quakers are still rounded up and thrown in jail.
The second half of the book tells us that there is still the mentality of “us vs. them” on the island, but it exists not between different religious or ethnic groups, but instead between those who live there full-time and those who just visit. In “Morning Meal,” a plumber who has lived on the entire for his entire life, suffers a lonely existence after his wife and daughter die in a tragic ferry accident. The plumber sees a lot of the “visitors” as he is oftentimes called to jobs at their lavish vacation homes. His wife was actually a tourist, but he loved her nonetheless and she was the only woman who ever truly loved him back.
Alan, in the story “Haunted,” used to be a visitor to the island, but now he runs a successful business giving tours of different places on the island that are said to be haunted by ghosts. Alan actually fled to Nantucket after he was dumped and kicked out by his boyfriend. When letters from Alan’s ex start showing up in his mailbox, Alan can’t decide whether he should go back to Boston or stay on Nantucket. This story, just as all of the others, ends in a cliffhanger. All of the stories lack a neat and tidy ending, and they make the reader use his or her own imagination to decide what will happen next in each story.
ISLAND FOG is a clever, well-written and entertaining collection of short stories. It makes me eager to read longer works by the author.
About The Author:
John Vanderslice teaches in the MFA program at the University of Central Arkansas, where he also serves as associate editor of Toad Suck Review magazine. His fiction, poetry, essays, and one-act plays have appeared in Seattle Review, Laurel Review, Sou’wester, Crazyhorse, Southern Humanities Review, 1966, Exquisite Corpse, and dozens of other journals. He has also published short stories in several fiction anthologies, including Appalachian Voice, Redacted Story, Chick for a Day, The Best of the First Line: Editors Picks 2002-2006, and Tartts: Incisive Fiction from Emerging Writers. His new book of short stories, Island Fog, published by Lavender Ink, is a linked collection, with every story set on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.
The author is giving away one paperback copy of the book (US/Can). Just leave a comment below and let me know you want to win! It’s that easy! Giveaway ends 1/22 and winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond.
The Winner of the Giveaway is: Martha R.
Click on the TLC tour banner below to see all of the stops on this book tour.