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Jack of Spades: The (Very) Last Will and Testament of Old Joe
Set in the coal fields of eastern Pennsylvania at the beginning of the last century, Jack of Spades is a poignant, moving and occasionally brutally funny story of an old man trying not to be erased from his own family history.
Kindle Edition, 64 pages
Published July 3rd 2014
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Jack of Spades explores the idea of lies--the big ones we tell and the little ones we tell--and what they mean at the end of a life. If we could really write our own obituaries and put the good and the bad out there, what would it look like? McGraw explores this idea from the death bed of a cantankerous, one-eyed, toothless former miner/carpenter, the ostensible father of a union leader who is slaughtered in violence in the North Eastern PA coal fields. This story is only currently available on ...more
It's a little rough, this story of Joseph set in the coal mines of the 1930s in Northeast PA. The narrative poetry and poetic license build as the miner/carpenter/cardshark Joe stumbles along to his own shabby redemption, from cigar band proposal to prison to tavern, under the disillusioned gaze and beatific smile of his longsuffering wife, Marie. At the start, the language grated on me. By the end, I felt the bare bones of some decent dramatic monologues were coming to the surface. Joe, like Ki ...more