This is the premise of War Stories, a rich collection of short fiction that draws upon both the literal and figurative meaning of its title. Through a diverse array of characters, settings, and circumstances, War Stories delivers a series of powerful tales from the home front of war: the stories of parents, siblings, and spouses of those who have fought, as well as those who have returned from battle.
Set against the backdrop of contemporary conflicts, War Stories’ compelling nine narratives tell of a wounded veteran who seeks renewal through an imagined relationship with a neighborhood girl, a grieving father who finds peace and reconciliation at the site of a disastrous bus crash, a young woman who searches for identity and meaning in the wake of her husband’s injury, and an urban teenager engaged in a fateful standoff with local recruiters. Interspersed with these tales are powerful, non-traditional “war stories” – of youth, unexpected loss, and heartbreaking love.
War Stories’ thoughtful and beautifully crafted tales, which range in style from deceptively simple to rich and complex, tell of people young and old, male and female, who share two things: humanity and resilience. These diverse and deftly written stories are joined through Elisabeth Doyle’s remarkable style and ease in creating a universe full of despair, hope, and dreams. At turns tender and harsh, tragic and yearning, these stories will leave you wanting more.
can be purchased at:
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
Release: August 7, 2012
It was the summer of the bicentennial, 1976, and the country was celebrating itself. The war had been over for more than a year and things went on as ever, the children playing in the Sullivan’s big back yard under skinny, century-old trees, the kind of trees with small round leaves that look like olive branches.
They drove around that summer because there was nothing else to do. Benji had just gotten his driver’s license and his father let him use his old VW bug, no air condition and a noisy engine, but it ran. They decided to look for jobs, so they drove around South Jersey scouting for places that might hire them, their shirts soaked through in the back and their legs sticking to the seats. They stopped at a bar called Kowalski’s off of Route 70. It was empty in the daytime, just a guy cleaning. He had long hair and a tattoo on his neck that said “Quang Ngai.” The man asked if they were 18 and shook his head “no” when they said they weren’t, and then he went back to mopping the floor.
Usually, Wendell’s job involved more typical, straightforward events – a heart attack here and there, or someone falling off a ladder. Every once in a while, a suicide, maybe, and those were the hardest. There was a man who ran the local bicycle shop who shot himself. He had no wife, no relatives, so they just locked up the shop and left it, as-is. When you walked by you could still see all the merchandise in the window, crowded in and piled from the floor to the ceiling. It’s a shame, Wendell thought, all those bicycles going to waste.
Happy Saturday! And what a Saturday it is! The wind has taken a turn to the bitter cold and the leaves that I love so much are being raked into piles and jumped into (I may or may not be one of the jumpers). It is the beginning of October and I feel the bite of Old Man Winter at the doorstep. Today, I am back home drinking hot apple cider and celebrating the birthday of a special 3 year old and I couldn't be happier.
Today, I have yet another book review. The book I am reviewing today is unlike any I have read. It is real, the author’s stories are broke down with emotion, and you won’t soon forget the people you meet on the journey through the lives of ordinary people fighting wars that should not be overlooked. Today I am eager to review for you War Stories by Elisabeth Doyle.
We all carry our own battle scars.
This review is a hard one for me to find a place to begin. I find it hard to start this for two reasons, one of them being the fact that I think story deserves its own review (I will not make you all read my breakdown of each and every nine stories because that would probably be twenty pages long).After finishing each and every story, I felt that I wanted more. Not needed, but wanted. The stories pack a punch and each one gives you a new emotion. The thing is that each story doesn’t leave your mind when you start a new one. The emotions you feel, whether it be sorrow, pity, hurt, pain, a fleeting moment of happiness, loneliness or hate, each emotion stacks up and by the end, you feel relief that its over but secretly wish that there was more. Each character, each story is so powerfully striking that you can’t put this book down. It is an emotional ride and you best hang on. The second reason I find it hard to write a review is that each story has stuck with me that I just don’t know how to express the sensation I feel now, after finishing the book. This book shows the true battles that happen every day. The battles of loneliness, suicide, drug abuse, and just plain sadness. These are the battles that are in every character and these are the battles that are so raw, so real, that they are hard to fight. Elisabeth Doyle has a group of short fiction stories that will stick in your mind long after you finish the book. “We all carry our own battle scars.” Yes, yes we do. War Stories proves to us that one of these days, it will all be over. We just have to wait and see how life plays out and who comes out on the winning side. The nine tales in the book is like a list of nine lives. Each one breaking down to be a battle. A battle we can either overcome or sink.
You will relate to this book in one way or another and feel exactly that way I do. This book should be one on every persons book list and they will then recommend it to their friends. Yes, it is that good.
Well friends there you go. I seriously recommend you pick this book up and read it. Click on the links below to find out how. Also, I have included some excerpts and information on the author. Read on friends, read on!
The Deepest, Darkest Part of the Woods Excerpt
About the Author:
Elisabeth Doyle is a writer and attorney living in Washington, D.C. She studied fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and the University at Albany, and is completing a Masters of Laws Degree at Georgetown University Law Center. Ms. Doyle’s short fiction was published in the literary journal Nadir and was awarded the University at Albany’s Lovenheim Prize for best short fiction. Her first short film, Hard Hearted One, was admitted into the Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema and the Street Films Film Festival, and was shown on Public Television and Manhattan Cable. War Stories is her first collection of short fiction.