Item description for Silver Thaw and Selected Stories by Ron Johnson...
Silver Thaw is set in the late '60s in the Great Central Valley of California. It's a story of four friends forced to confront the moral, sexual and political parameters which will define their adult lives. There is the loss of innocence precipitated by the Vietnam War, but the main battle is an internal struggle that each must encounter and confront within themselves. Art is a quiet, independent-minded college student who wants to become a high school shop teacher. He has recently become intimate with June, a survivor of the working class trailor park, where her mother died of alcoholism. She is attending college to escape the pain of her past. Her roomate Honey is seeking a life with a man she can believe in. An elemental, aggressive woman, sexually confident, Honey is a woman by whom men define themselves. She is falling in love with Jess, who is finishing college under the Army ROTC program. Jess wants a part of Vietnam, and he wants Honey. The war can't wait, and she can. To survive, the four must recognize their own flawed human nature, and must learn to defend the notion of human decency in the ordinary conduct of their affairs.
Selected Stories: Award winning stories previousy released in some of America's favorite literary journals, these works of fiction will leave the reader wanting for days gone by, a more innocent time in our history.
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More About Ron Johnson
Ron Johnston is Professor of Geography in the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol. Derek Gregory is Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia. Geraldine Pratt is Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia. Michael Watts is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley.
Reviews - What do customers think about Silver Thaw and Selected Stories?
A Notable Novella Nov 9, 2006
Ron Johnson's Silver Thaw and Selected Stories is a satisfying and engaging read. The title novella is written in crisp, tight prose that moves the story along effortlessly, although one can well imagine how the author labored over each word to make the words flow smoothly. The short tale is rich in questions about morality and sexuality, exploring the breakdown of barriers and loss of innocence in the 1960s during the Vietnam era. The narrator, Art, falls in love, marries and tries to understand and define his role as father and husband against the outside forces of free sex in the world, yet one feels the story is more about his trying to make sense out of the relationship between his and his wife's friends, Honey and Jess. Honey comes from a dysfunctional home, and Jess, upon first meeting Art, tells him he wishes to become an assassin. From that alarming statement, the novella keeps the reader turning the pages, never disappointing, yet never becoming sensational to the point of the ridiculous. The book is a deeply thought-out and concise portrait of two relationships, and how two couples can live so very differently, despite the friendship between them.
The accompanying "Selected Stories" are also very concise and satisfying. In particular, most of them contain similar characters, and while each stands by itself, after reading the group of them, one feels a connection between them, almost as if one had just read a second novella, for they build on each other much like Hemingway's Nick stories. They create a realistic and moving portrait of a working class family struggling to survive through difficult times, yet with a resolve to carry on through whatever they may face. There is some intense character insight, especially in the mother in "Women's Work". One only wishes there were more stories about the family--but perhaps they are yet to come from Ron Johnson's mature and capable pen.
- Tyler R. Tichelaar, author of Iron Pioneers and The Queen City, available on this site