Songs for the deaf Stories

John Henry Fleming

Book - 2014

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FICTION/Fleming, John
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Genres
Short stories
Published
[Orlando, Florida] : Burrow Press 2014.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Item Description
"Paperback BP originals."
Physical Description
172 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN
9780984953851
098495385X
Main Author
John Henry Fleming (author)
  • Cloud reader
  • A charmed life
  • The day of our Lord's triumph (with marginal notes for children)
  • Weighing of the heart
  • A history of war in three parts
  • Chomolungma
  • In the shadow of the world's greatest monument to love
  • Xenophilia
  • Coward
  • Wind and rain
  • Song for the deaf.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Several of the stories in this collection were previously published in journals such as McSweeney's and Atticus Review. Fleming's stories convey a satirical view of modern American culture, of family dysfunction, small-town living, and the negative side of human nature. Traumatic events in their lives lead some characters to redemption, others to extinction. Skillful choice of language, dark humor, and the occasional integration of fantastic elements ensure enjoyment. The title story, Songs for the Deaf, detailing the codependency between a kid with an amazing voice and the people of his rural town, slowly spirals into the absurd. In Chomolungma, readers meet a family climbing Mount Everest in the care of discount Sherpas, providing the husband with revenge for a highly public indiscretion by his resentful wife. The History of War in Three Parts is a crushing polemic against dictatorship and war and the devastation both bring to human lives. These strong stories will appeal to fans of literary writing and short stories. Libraries will want to purchase accordingly. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In his first collection of stories, novelist Fleming (The Legend of the Barefoot Mailman) serves as ringmaster to a motley variety of characters, including cowards, self-proclaimed messiahs, and ghostly hitchhikers. In the title story, deputy sheriff Jeremy Jones struggles to understand the appeal of his opera-singing childhood nemesis, Tony Sutter, aka "the Magnificent Antonio," for the fellow inhabitants of his small town. "Xenophilia" depicts one evening from multiple perspectives, Rashomon-style, as the military, townspeople, and police officers converge on a local restaurant to capture a crash-landed alien and its scientist paramour, while in "Cloud Reader," frontier justice seals the fate of the oracular title character. Several stories aim for satire, and some hit the mark, like the let's-strengthen-our-family-by-climbing-Everest antics of "Chromolungma." Others, though, wilt under too much cleverness—particularly "The Day of Our Lord's Triumph (with Marginal Notes for Children)," an account of a teenage boy's miraculous victory over high school bullies, written as a parody of Christian devotional texts. Where Fleming truly excels is in the briefest story, "A Charmed Life," which traces a lovable loser protagonist's travels with straight-faced sincerity, showing what a skilled writer can accomplish in just a few short pages. (Mar.) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Collects short stories that put a modern, satiric spin on the American tall tale.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A little desert town gets a sexual charge from a crash-landed alien. A dysfunctional family tries to summit Everest with “discount Sherpas” and yakloads of emotional baggage. A teen messiah emerges from a game of 3-on-3. The stories in John Henry Fleming's Songs for the Deaf, the first story collection by the “marvelously inventive” and “winningly satiric” author of The Legend of the Barefoot Mailman, put an intimate and modern spin on the American tall tale. Stories in the collection have appeared in McSweeney's, North American Review, Atticus Review, 100% Pure Florida Fiction, and elsewhere.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The stories in John Henry Fleming's Songs for the Deaf, the first story collection by the “marvelously inventive” and “winningly satiric” author of The Legend of the Barefoot Mailman, put an intimate and modern spin on the American tall tale.