by Anthony Bukoski
The twelve short stories in Bukoski's third collection are both a dirge and an homage to a passing way of life for the East End neighborhood of Superior, Wisconsin. "Hurry, our closing is imminent," a priest in the single remaining Catholic church exhorts a Polish emigre seaman at the start of a confession.
Without a spiritual or economic focus, Superior's Polish American residents create new places to worship--in a roadside confessional owned and operated by an entrepreneurial junkman, deep below the city's streets in the basement of a pair of nervous, middle-aged twin spinsters, in a seedy lakeshore cafe where reports of a long-sleeping youngster create a neighborhood tourist attraction.
On the streets and docks of the world's most inland port, Bukoski's characters struggle to understand what went wrong in a city where everything is closing or decaying. Sailors return with diseases of body and soul, a frantic woman searches for her child lost almost a half-century ago, a self-deluded widower seeks love over the telephone, and a compulsive braggart shrinks in stature as his chest expands with the ever more elaborate lies he tells.
Despite their failures and the crumbling of their world, Bukoski's characters survive with wry humor, dignity, and grace. In the sorrow and joy of their struggles, these East End residents remind us of the power of our own humanity.
"Anthony Bukoski has found a place in America to write about that breaks my heart. I know St. Adalbert's, The Warsaw Tavern, Franciszka, Augie, the flour mill, those cracked, powdered hands. I'd been gone a lifetime, several lifetimes--I left--and here comes Bukoski, sweeping off the floor, starting up the music, getting people to dance."
GARY GILDNER, author of The Warsaw Sparks
"Bukoski's compelling and engaging collection pushes the boundaries of realism as it explores the lives of immigrants not just Polish, but 'alien' in ways that all readers can recognize."
ALLEN WIER, author of A Place for Outlaws
ANTHONY BUKOSKI, the grandson of Polish immigrants, grew up in Superior, Wisconsin. In 1965 he served as a Marine in DaNang, South Vietnam. He holds an A.M. from Brown University and an M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. His stories have been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize, have twice won special mention, and have appeared in many literary venues in the U.S. and Canada. Currently he teaches English at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He and his wife live in the home where he was reared.
Publishing House: Southern Methodist University Press, Dallas 1998
HardCover book measuring 6.25" x 9.25"
English Language Version
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