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The Middle of the Night
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312304099, Hardcover)Daniel Stolar's debut story collection, The Middle of the Night, is the work of a deft hand and a sharp mind. Set largely in St. Louis, M.O., Stolar tells the stories of people uncomfortable with who and where they are--outsiders looking in at their own lives, trying to understand the circumstances beyond their control. Coping with the loss of a parent or spouse, and wondering what could have been are prevalent themes. There is not a bad story in the bunch, but a few stand out. "Crossing Over" follows a high-school kid as he works after school in a restaurant, befriends the black staff, and holds his own as they play basketball--high, and late at night--in the slums. When he joins a black fraternity at Boston University his freshman year, he submits to intense hazing and finds that despite his "crossing over," his whiteness may not be overcome. "Jack Landers is My Friend" describes a high-school reunion where Jack, a transfer student who longed for acceptance, meets up with Kara, a popular girl he befriended to the envy of the elitist boys. Jack notes: "The thing that had marked me was more subtle and even less forgivable: not only had I wanted to be accepted among them, I had assumed it was my God-given right. I still don't know what I did to give it away." Although their lives have diverged, the reunion underscores that no matter what Jack ever wanted, Kara would never be more than his friend. The Middle of the Night is a sober, high-quality collection by a reflective, new talent. --Michael Ferch
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:43 -0400)
"In this collection of stories of love and loss, desire and longing, Daniel Stolar takes us from New England woods to Midwestern suburbs, from the private clubs of the Ivy League to the basketball courts in inner St. Louis. Like the best storytellers, Stolar turns his eye to what William Faulkner called the source of all literature, "the human heart in conflict with itself," and in eight expansive stories he burrows directly into the hearts and minds of people struggling to comprehend the strange paths their lives have taken." "A seventy-year-old retired doctor strains to teach his sixteen-year-old son to drive. A woman receives a phone call from the father she never knew. A young lawyer at a high school reunion sees the woman he was too timid to love. A widower introduces his new love to the sister of the wife he believes he failed. And a Jewish student's understanding of himself is shattered by his decision to pledge a black fraternity."--BOOK JACKET.
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