Item description for Last Call by Stefan Strozier Blair Oliver M....
"Last Call is the most deserving collection I have read in a long, long time and I am silenced for how splendid and days later my heart still aches from reading these powerful stories about the contrary lives of the beings we call human." --Robert Olmstead, author of Coal Black Horse, Stay Here With Me, and River Dogs "In a stripped-down, elegant prose, Blair Oliver's collected short stories, Last Call, explores the disconnect between who we are, and who we believe we are; whether success or failure, child or parent, it is a process of discovery that uncovers the essential bits and pieces of what it means, finally, to be human. Told with a wry and lively wit, these stories range wide and hit hard. It's the rarest kind of treat-a collection you'll want to read and re-read." --Claire Davis, author of Winter Range, Season of the Snake, and Labors of the Heart "Last Call studies fathers, wives, husbands, and a geography that ranges from the Rocky Mountains to the pine barrens of coastal New Jersey. This is a collection of stories that hunts down the subject of marriage like a wary prey, circling it, repeating patterns with variations, observing both from a distance and up close. Blair Oliver captures the moments we fall out of love and its root causes in these beautiful and lean short stories." --Brian Kiteley, author of Still Life with Insects, I Know Many Songs, But I Cannot Sing, and The 3 A.M. Epiphany
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.9" Width: 6" Height: 0.6" Weight: 0.5 lbs.
Release Date Aug 27, 2007
Publisher World Audience, Inc.
ISBN 1934209740 ISBN13 9781934209745
Reviews - What do customers think about Last Call?
Gripped My Attention May 11, 2008
I read technical and business publications for work and enjoyment. Very rarely do I pick up fiction, but Last Call was an exception. Each story in the book kept me turning the pages and entertained me from start to finish. It's a fantastic piece of work by Blair Oliver and I recommend it highly, even to those who seldom read fiction.
Refreshing new voice in short stories Dec 20, 2007
Reviewed by Danielle Feliciano for Reader Views (12/07)
Let me start with a confession: I am not at all a fan of short stories. I have tried over and over to be open to this genre but I can count on one hand the number of times that I have actually been able to finish a collection of short stories. Blair Oliver has restored my rapidly dwindling faith in the possibility of ever finding a short story collection I actually enjoy.
In his book "Last Call," Oliver strips away all pretenses and forces the reader to face that we are, in fact, human. We all make mistakes, and those mistakes affect not only us, but those around us. Man or woman, everyone faces the same basic themes in life (love, loss, betrayal, redemption), but how we choose to deal with those life themes is what is at the core. Do we ignore life and watch it pass by or do we choose to actively live?
Some of the actions of the men in this collection are hard to like. Starting with the boy who plans to use his father's rare coins to pay for a date and continuing with infidelity and lack of love, it would be obvious to detest these characters and place the blame on them. However, Oliver brilliantly manages to get the reader, if not to feel sorry for, to at least understand these men and the choices they make. It would be easy to judge, easy to say "how horrible," easy to say "I'd never do that," but as you are reading, it's not so easy to imagine yourself being any better than the characters.
The main theme throughout each story seems to be of disconnect, not only the disconnect from child or spouse, but the disconnect from one's self. Each of the main characters seems to be an observer rather than a participant in his own life. He finds himself married to someone whom he doesn't like. He finds himself a father to a child he has nothing in common with. He finds himself waking up each day and saying to himself "How did I get here?" without ever really seeking the answer to that question.
The stories in this collection are bleak and raw but in the end, Blair Oliver finds humor in the black hole his characters have created for themselves. He makes it possible for us to see ourselves mirrored in the depressing circumstances, yet in the safety of an outsider's opinion, find a small silver lining. I am honestly stunned by this collection and the stories in "Last Call" will stay with me for a long time to come.
Not Just for Men Nov 29, 2007
Blair Oliver's "Last Call" is a rare, intelligent glimpse into the psyches of complex, introspective men who ask themselves difficult questions and struggle to live with or without the answers. Reconciliation with the self is central to these stories, and it doesn't come easy. Oliver's men approach significant transitions in their lives, whether it's that first awkward date, the elusive missing component of a marriage, or a conversation with a father who prefers martinis to fly fishing, and somehow, each man falls short but not without holding himself accountable. These stories resonate, linger. The best ones, in my opinion, are "Precious Metals," "Missing Things," and "Last Call," the title story.
last call Oct 29, 2007
LAST CALL is a small book that packs a big punch. Although set in the American Rocky Mountain West, the short stories carry an Irishness, a thematic concern that colors all the tales. Oliver's writing makes me think of Joyce's "The Dead" and Doyle's "The Van" -- painful, yet honest, glimpses of a character's search for meaning in life, marriage, fatherhood, and friendship.
Terrific stuff Sep 24, 2007
These are very readable, entertaining stories about the complications of love, lust, and family. The main characters dig holes for themselves and don't just fall in -- they dive. They lie and cheat but won't look at the answer to the crossword puzzle. Somehow it's a lot of fun, reading about it.