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.