In Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge, once again Peter Orner has produced a masterful and compelling collection of short stories. Some of the stories are no longer than one page, some continue for ten pages and several stories refer to the same character, Horace Ginsburg, a Madoff-like scamster who lost his own fortune as well as those of his much less successful relatives. He appears as a ghost to his nephew in one story, unrepentant and gloating. There are refugees in stories who struggle to acclimate to America. There is a Richard Daley-like character who ruins himself and his city. There is even a story in which a wealthy young man who owns a building in which he allows his tenants to live rent-free, thinks of a creative way to change his situation without disturbing anyone. The repetitive motif in the stories is that of the loner. The characters look for connection and vibrancy in their lives and almost always fail. In a one-page story, a blind, old poet who can no longer read or remember his poetry is dragged out to recite for an audience that vaguely remembers him as an important literary figure. He recites, ”Why can’t our dreams be content with the terrible facts?” This question serves as a theme for the entire collection.
Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge
Suri Boiangiu recently semi-retired from the position of assistant principal at an all-girls high school. She has either been an administrator or taught English at Yeshivah of Flatbush and Magen David High School. She loves reading modern fiction, or any fiction, and Amazon knows her by her first name.
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