Don Eron’s well-crafted, character-driven collection of three novellas and two stories draws readers into the daily lives of its protagonists, each unique, yet all struggling to find their place in the world.
In the short opening tale “Giselle’s Tears,” a young man recalls the heartfelt experience of first love and the tragedy of loss. Two novellas follow: “Welcome to Gilgamesh,” where a cynical greeting card writer at odds with his father looks for redemption on his popular publicity tour, and “The Chimera in the Plaster,” in which an unsettled man’s encounter at a party brings memories of a long-ago stay with a friend and his unexpected housemates.
The next short entry, “The Legend of Elk Avenue” finds a 40-year-old deli owner searching for inspiration in a book of Jewish folklore featuring a legendary rabbi.
And in the final novella, “Misguided Missiles,” Eron reprises the same central characters from the initial story years later. The young man is now an adult trying to deal with his older sister’s terminal illness by considering joining a wrestling circuit. Unfortunately, the first story’s tagalong younger sibling—who coveted her older sister’s charm, beauty, and sense of entitlement—is missing here. The elder’s solemn diagnosis seems an ironic twist to the younger sister’s envy, and readers may question what happened to the sister in her adult years.
Death becomes a part of life in these stories, and Eron artfully weaves such drama into his tales. His skillful descriptions; fast-paced, bantering dialogue; and characters’ amusing observations and insightful reflections (“If the notion weren’t so grandiose…I’d say when he threw his fit he was crying over the loss of his illusions…and we never have quite enough to begin with”) draw readers into their mindsets and move the action forward.
With stories showcasing a range of subjects—whether family relationships, friendships, sexuality, or insecurity—the common theme of this enjoyable collection seems revealed in its aptly referenced W.B. Yeats title: Perhaps we’re all searching for an Innisfree.
Also available as an ebook.