Fic­tion

Cream of Kohlrabi

Floyd Skloot
  • Review
By – April 18, 2013

Poet, essay­ist, and nov­el­ist Floyd Skloot cre­ates six­teen extra­or­di­nary short sto­ries that cov­er the gamut of the human expe­ri­ence. Painful and poignant, sev­er­al of these sto­ries deal with age and the loss of memory.

In the sto­ry The Wan­der­er,” a Holo­caust sur­vivor walks out of his nurs­ing home to take refuge from the Nazis of his past in the local woods. In the title sto­ry, nurs­ing home res­i­dent Ike Rubin gets a let­ter inform­ing him that he is eli­gi­ble to receive funds for Holo­caust sur­vivors. Ike com­pares his Holo­caust expe­ri­ence to the cream of kohlra­bi soup of the day, In the camps, you nev­er knew what they were let­ting you eat, only that it wasn’t good for you.” Remem­ber­ing the fate of his fam­i­ly mem­bers, Ike decides to take the mon­ey. He would think of some­thing to do with the mon­ey. Even if all he could imag­ine now was to burn it.” In The Peanut Vender,” Viet­nam vet­er­an Ran­dall Gilliam, Mr. Nutz,” has worked for thir­ty years throw­ing peanuts in Seattle’s King­dome like hand grenades. Now work­ing at the new Safe­co, Mr. Nutz” real­izes that time has passed him over. In the sto­ry Karaōke Night at the Trail’s End,” lon­er Jake Innis has been dri­ving over an hour on Thurs­days for months to Karaōke Night at The Trail’s End. Jake final­ly sum­mons the courage to sing after wit­ness­ing anoth­er singer chang­ing the lyrics and open­ing her soul on stage. She seemed to be reach­ing out and lift­ing Jake’s chin with the fin­ger of her voice so that he had no choice but to look at her.” At the end, Jake decides to sing direct­ly to her by also chang­ing the lyrics to Eleanor Rig­by, All the sor­ry cou­ples, they do not get along. All the sor­ry cou­ples, where have all gone wrong?”

Beau­ti­ful­ly writ­ten and pow­er­ful, Skloot’s col­lec­tion of sto­ries will reaf­firm faith in the human spirit.

Gary Katz received an MA in Eng­lish from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebras­ka-Oma­ha. He is the library admin­is­tra­tor for the Krip­ke Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion Library in Oma­ha, Nebras­ka, one of the largest Judaica libraries in the Unit­ed States.

Discussion Questions