As an English professor, I’m very impressed by Fitzgerald’s unpretentious , accessible, and finely crafted collection ofThe Dancing Frog, Book Review
As an English professor, I’m very impressed by Fitzgerald’s unpretentious , accessible, and finely crafted collection of short stories and poetry which remind me of the straightforward story-telling style of Jack London or John Steinbeck. And like London, many of Fitzgerald’s stories use travel and adventure to explore life, as he takes us to the base camp of Everest in “The Sweet Song of Desire” and to Micronesia in “Lionfish.” But Fitzgerald is not rehashing London, who wrote about travel as a young man pushing his physical and spirital boundaries: Fitzgerald looks back on these adventures as an older man, and uses them to explore the complexities of character and human relationship, especially love and loss.
Like Steinbeck. Fitzgerald has a wonderful sense of place and character, best illustrated in “The Artichoke King of Nevada City,” a hilarious and poignant story of an aging hippie, his Mexican migrant lover, killer Siamese cats and some killer artichoke weed.
But what impresses me most is that Fitzgerald is a master of the disappearing art of brevity, an unfortunate victim in the age of rambling blogs: he doesn’t waste the readers’ time with self-indulgent flourishes, but rather tells vivid stories with a concise, honest clarity. He is at his best in his “short short fiction,” three to five pages stories like “The Silver Trophy” in which he shows us a young boy learning about death in a single morning, hunting with his father for rabbits.
These stories are “moveable feasts,” as Hemingway might say – and while they take a few minutes to read, they stay around, digesting, for far longer.
I strongly recommend this collection to not just the literary, but those who just like a good read....more