I have to say, right off the bat, that I was a little confused by what I was reading. To me, the word “stories” implies fiction. But the description on Goodreads says “Autobiographical Short Stories” which seems appropriate as they stories read as very personal. But are these true moments … a memoir? Or are these completely fictional? Something in between? A little help, please. Even inside the book, the author refers to these as stories that deserve to be told because “the characters and themes are universal, and because they are very good stories.”
Certainly, the fact that I can’t separate what’s fiction and what’s true says that there is a strong sense of ‘real’ in the writing. FOr that, I am impressed.
But each of these stories is a bit depressing. The most positive one I can think of, off-hand is “Marilyn” which perhaps has a positive slant for the narrator, but which over-all is still a downer. And fiction that is depressing is okay … but why read it? Is there something to be gleaned from it?
The quote on the book’s cover, as seen above, is from the Pittsburgh Press and compares Feder with Woody Allen, Philip Roth, and even Mark Twain. I would agree with the comparison to Roth, specifically the blurring of the lines between fact and fiction. But Woody Allen? No. Mark Twain? Definitely not.
I’m really not sure how these characters are universal. I don’t think I know any of these people … which is good.
The stories are okay. They feel real. But these aren’t people I want to spend much time getting to know.
Looking for a good book? A Long Swim Upstream almost seems a metaphor for what it’s like reading these stories by Mike Feder.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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A Long Swim Upstream, Stories by Mike Feder
author: Mike Feder
publisher: Federfiles Books
ebook, 350 pages