Monday, June 23, 2014

Full of Crow comes Full Circle

"Two Birds" copyright 2009 Kristin Fouquet

Many moons ago, I had a story, "A Reason to Believe," in the first issue at Full Of Crow. Five years later, it's come to my attention it will be folding. Sad news, but Kevin Tosca has a story, "Sobriety Test," in the last issue. It's an interesting study in the exploration of a May-December relationship encounter. I couldn't find my story in the archives, but you can read his. Full of Crow has come full circle.

From Kevin via his Facebook page:

This is for Paul Corman-Roberts. This is for his choosing my story, but more importantly this is for all the stories and for all the hard work he's done for Full of Crow Fiction over the last five years.

This is their last issue, and I'm proud to be a part of it.

Test your sobriety here:

Photograph by Kristin Fouquet

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

That was Then/ This is Now, a review

"Reading All Our Yesterdays" copyright 2014 Kristin Fouquet

Only several pages into Erik Tarloff’s novel All Our Yesterdays, I knew I was going to adore it. Was it naïve optimism? Was the plotline already so riveting I didn’t think I’d ever be able to put it down? Maybe a little of both, but the simplest reason was because I immediately loved the protagonist. The story begins with a first person recollection of when he, Zeke, met his love, Molly, at a party in 1968. Through this flashback, the reader gets a glimpse into the decent, good guy he is and will prove to be over time.

The setting is Berkeley in the late 60s and early 70s, a backdrop of rapid social change and heightened political awareness, juxtaposed with contemporary Berkeley. Because of Tarloff’s masterful construction, one is not reliant only on Zeke’s first person account, which occurs in the chapters from the past. These “then” segments shift back and forth with “now” chapters delivered in third person. As enjoyable as Zeke’s perspective is, it’s helpful for the reader to get outside of his head and see him from another angle to appreciate the full story. 

Tarloff has created a believable cast of characters. Flawed and real, they evolve and make decisions, changing relationships and the dynamic of the group. The writing style is fluid with moments of tension and intrigue. Intelligent, funny, and engaging dialogue illuminates the lively interactions among the characters.

All Our Yesterdays is as much an enduring love story between Zeke and Molly as it is an homage to the unique city of Berkeley, which has undergone its own evolution.

Find out more here: All Our Yesterdays

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Lost in Fatherhood, a book review

"Reading Lost in Space by Ben Tanzer" copyright 2014 Kristin Fouquet

I began reading Lost in Space: A Father’s Journey There and Back Again by Ben Tanzer on June 3rd, 2014. The date is significant to me because it was the 22nd anniversary of my father’s death. This wasn’t consciously premeditated; I just sort of picked it up that day and realized the coincidence.

Tanzer attempts to navigate through the role of parent via memories of his deceased father and experiences with his own sons. He employs creative devices in these essays as well. In “The Penis Stories,” he loosely veils the identity of his two boys by giving them aliases while understanding full well the reader clearly knows who is who. In “Anatomy of the Story,” he cleverly begins with the end and ends with the beginning.

With honesty, poignancy, and humor, Tanzer conveys the vulnerability conscientious parents share in the raising of children. “No Avoiding That” demonstrates how time-outs work as much for the parents to cool down, or more so, as for the children who are sentenced to them.

For this reader, the only challenge with this collection was its reliance on many pop cultural references which eluded me. One such example is the essay, “The Don Draper Interlude: A Mad Men Guide to Raising Children.” Of course, this is not Tanzer’s fault; it is my own for being so hopelessly unhip.

As I delved further into Lost in Space, I found myself reflecting on my own father. I contemplated the important decisions he was forced to make, many of them without the luxury of time, reflection, or guidance. At the age of thirteen, he attempted to wake his own father up from an after-work nap only to find him dead. I wondered how lost he must have felt as a father after having such a short relationship with his own.

I am grateful Tanzer allowed this peek into his life as a son and as a father with all its fears, hopes, denials, and joys. I believe this book is one he will always be proud of and also a beautiful gift to his sons. Oh, and speaking of gifts, Father’s Day is next Sunday. Why not order a copy for all the great dads in your life?