Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review and Giveaway: "Wanderers" by Edward Belfar

Title: Wanderers
Author: Edward Belfar
Publisher: Stephen F. Austin University Press
Date Published: June 5, 2012
Pages: 272
This would be a good time to not judge a book by its font.

How I Heard About It: A digital copy for review was provided by TLC Book Toursand the publisher as part of Wanderers' blog tour. Less important (and perhaps to be saved for another blog post), this was my first foray into e-reading on my new iPad Mini which, like the book, was quite a satisfying experience.

Two Sentence Summary: Belfar's first book is a collection of 15 short stories; at the core of each is the dissatisfaction, the ennui of the quotidian. While the settings are often exotic (Karen, Africa; Roman honeymoons; Long Island mansions), the characters are largely of the struggling status quo, negotiating failing relationships and financial worries in realistic terms.

Things I Think: These stories totally avoid the trap that makes me hate short stories: last-ditch plot twists to make something realistic into an epiphanic moment. Belfar's writing is straightforward, the prose is sharp and engaging but never florid. The style's lack of poetry is totally perfect for the content, which is entirely of "the everyday."

"The Volvo had seen better days. Its front grille had fallen off, and where the right headlight once had shone, only a black hole remained. The hood and the roof looked as though someone had turned a sandblaster on them; in some places, the white paint had peeled away down to the metal. Even routine stops caused the brakes to screech, and the exhaust pipe spewed out billows of blue-tinged smoke."

To turn everyman's trials into a series of anecdotes toys dangerously with a line of boredom, a line which the author never crosses for me. My only qualms were momentary, regarding certain descriptive quirks that the author uses perhaps too frequently (almost all of the wives in the stories have a tendency to nervously pull out their hair) but the distraction was not large enough to ruin my impression of Wanderers on the whole.

Giveaway of "Wanderers"

The publisher has provided me with an extra paperback copy to give away to a reader! Comment on this post for a chance to win. Follow on bloglovin', twitter, or google reader for extra entries. (Be sure to leave a comment for each extra entry so I can account for them.)

Winner will be announced one week from today: Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

I'm glad you enjoyed these stories!

Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like an entertaining & down to earth read. Having been on the Game of Thrones kick, it might be a nice change. Hope yer well! Love atchye from th' rotten apple!
xo- AD

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) said...

Although I generally prefer short story collections to be connected, the exotic settings sound like they would make up for that.

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