The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street by Jacob M Appel

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Despite the missteps, if they are that, these are insightful stories from a patient, careful observer of human nature.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

Fiction. The eight stories in THE TOPLESS WIDOW OF HERKIMER STREET are smart, funny, and humane. In "Bioethics for Dunces," which takes its name from the title of a college course its main character Leonard teaches, Leonard suddenly finds that academic and abstract issues are all too real when his own daughter goes on life support. He and his wife disagree about what to do. A quote from this story speaks to the philosophical quandary that many of these stories explore: "The underlying problem was that Leonard's situation lacked a governing social convention." Many of Appel's stories feature characters grappling with moral, ethical, and philosophical situations that lack governing social conventions. His stories show how ethics--something that sounds like an academic abstraction--can be concrete, visceral, and immediate. With compassion, wit, humor, and intelligence, these stories explore the gray areas of our lives. Echoes of myth, fairy tale, and fable flavor them, underscoring the eternal nature of both the human condition and storytelling itself.

In a starred review Kirkus Reviews described Jacob Appel's THE TOPLESS WIDOW OF HERKIMER STREET as a collection of "well- constructed stories that sharply but compassionately observe people trying to make sense of life's disruptions" and that "come to...thoughtful, often wrenching conclusions."
 

About Jacob M Appel

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Published November 1, 2016 by Howling Bird Press. 184 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street
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Kirkus

Excellent
on Jun 23 2016

Uncontrollable forces (including the absurd, the magical, and the tragic) upset carefully ordered lives in this short story collection that won the 2016 Howling Bird Press fiction prize...Eight more superb stories from a talented pen.

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Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Anthony Bukoski on Nov 08 2016

Despite the missteps, if they are that, these are insightful stories from a patient, careful observer of human nature.

Read Full Review of The Topless Widow of Herkimer... | See more reviews from Star Tribune