The Presence of Things Past

Collecting stories from John Taylor’s upbringing in Des Moines, these “charming evocations of a Midwestern childhood” (as the French film director Louis Malle called them), recall an “average” neighborhood in the 1950s and 1960s. The death of the author’s mother gives rise to these sensitive reminiscences, which also conjure up first loves, playmates, and a motley assortment of true-to-life characters who express their modest joys and lasting secret sorrows. The Presence of Things Past (the title alludes to the eleventh book of the Confessions of Saint Augustine), is a tribute to the presence of a lost mother, a lost neighborhood, a lost city, and a lost childhood. The first American magazine editor to note the originality of these “little gems of fresh and precise prose,” as he described them, was John Milton of the South Dakota Review. “I can turn to any one of the pieces in this collection at random,” he wrote on the back cover of the Story Line edition, “and be delighted by a cameo incident or characterization that is familiar yet refreshingly new, real and yet so precisely and perceptively written that reality is both heightened and brightened. The brevity of the pieces is deceptive. The French influence is there. The effect does not depend on catchy endings, on twists and surprises in plot. It is, rather, felt in the ‘recollections in tranquility’ and in the masterful use of language.”

Price
Tradepaper: $20 / ISBN: 9781586541064
Casebound: $30 / ISBN: 9781586541071


John Taylor ( Author Website )

Publication Date: October 13, 2020

Genre/Imprint: Short Stories, Story Line Press

$20 Tradepaper

Shop: Red Hen, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble

ISBN: 978-1-58654-106-4

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