Item description for Local Music by Walter Cummins...
A man who can't bring himself to return to the apartment of his failing marriage, a woman spied upon by a neighbor, a father terrified by the four-year-old next door, a boy living in a house haunted by his mother's madness, a mother whose children are freezing in a heatless bedroom-the characters in the stories of Local Music are unsettled in their own homes, their lives dissonant and discordant.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.8" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.7" Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Release Date Aug 7, 2007
Publisher Egress Books
ISBN 193343516X ISBN13 9781933435169
Availability 0 units.
More About Walter Cummins
Walter Cummins has published five previous short story collections-Witness, Where We Live, Local Music, The End of the Circle, and The Lost Ones. More than 100 of his stories, as well as memoirs, essays, and reviews, have appeared in magazines such as Kansas Quarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, New Letters, Under the Sun, Arts & Letters, Confrontation, Bellevue Literary Review, Connecticut Review, The Laurel Review, Other Voices, Georgetown Review, Contrary, Sonora Review, Abiko Quarterly, Weber Studies, Midwest Quarterly, West Branch, South Carolina Review, Crosscurrents, Crescent Review, The MacGuffin, in book collections, and on the Web. With Thomas E. Kennedy, he is co-publisher of Serving House Books, an outlet for novels, memoirs, and story, poetry, and essay collections. For more than twenty years, he was editor of The Literary Review. He teaches in Fairleigh Dickinson University's MFA in Creative Writing and MA in Creative Writing and Literature programs.
Reviews - What do customers think about Local Music?
A very rich collection of short stories Oct 2, 2007
Usually it's not hard to review a collection of short stories. There are some I like; some I don't. However, with Walter Cummins' third anthology, Local Music, I find myself with a difficult task: picking out the ones I like the best.
All the stories in Local Music deal with characters that "are unsettled in their own homes, their lives dissonant and discordant." These are the type of stories I write, and I feel drawn to them. I'm also impressed that in all seventeen stories, Cummins manages to create an unexpected twist that is compelling and, upon consideration, the only real way the story could end.
My favorite story was the title story, "Local Music." It invoked images and sounds of James Baldwin's classic "Sonny's Blues" combined with a tad of "Frankie and Johnnie." These were the stories that came to mind as I read this powerful story of a once-famous sax player, Bobo, and Philip, a guys who hang in the club because it used to be `their' place.
Another favorite is the end story, "Little Old Man." This is the story of an old man who has had enough of medical problems, dialysis, and everything that goes wrong with the human body during the aging process. Warren wants to end it all, but there is his wife, Julia. Who would take care of her? Their son Richard and his wife Bonnie can't/won't. She's too much of a burden. Yet Warren can't stand his own pain any longer. "Little Old Man" is a story so many Americans are dealing with: elderly parents who need constant care. But Warren doesn't depend on Richard and Bonnie to share the burden. In a fit of selfishness, he tells Richard to send her to a nursing home and waits for uremia poisoning to kill him, but Julia has a plan of her own.
Sandwiched between these two tales are stories told with surprises, compassion, intrigue, and cacophony. A couple of other favorites I want to point out are "Homemaking," the loser best friend who does become a success and gives his friend a rather strange gift, and "Pleasure," a story that has more packed into it than the average novel.
Armchair Interviews says: The stories of Local Music drift through the mind like a old-fashioned love song--rich and meaningful.