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Jack of Spades: The (Very) Last Will and Testament of Old Joe

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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.

64 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 3, 2014

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Seamus McGraw

9 books11 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Profile Image for Ann.
542 reviews15 followers
August 14, 2014
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 kindle, and it's a great couple of hours where you return to the stink and dirt of the early 20th century coal fields. The cantankerous narrator is also funny. While he's telling you about the serious shit of his life, it's makes you laugh out loud. For anyone who is interested in this period of history or in the idea of truths/lies/facts.
Profile Image for Patricia.
379 reviews45 followers
August 13, 2017
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 King Lear had grown old before he had grown wise.
1 review
August 11, 2016
Vivid, moving, and engrossing. I read it in one sitting because I could not put it down. Seamus is a gifted writer.
9 reviews
April 21, 2015
Excellent read. A very well crafted work. It's hard to believe such a deep and powerful story could be told in so few words. If you are an avid/active reader you could read this in an afternoon.
Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews

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