Ed Falco’s Wolf Point (8/27/05)

falco

Wolf Point by Edward Falco, Unbridled Press, 256 pages.

Here’s a rough draft of the review that will be published in the upcoming New River Free Press.

“Once,” Ed Falco writes, in describing his new novel, “while hitchhiking somewhere upstate New York, I was given a ride by a guy with a collection of swords. The peripheral details are all gone: I have no idea where I was coming from or where I was going. I couldn’t tell you when it happened, though it must have been around 1970, since those were the days I hitchhiked a good bit, in my late teens and early twenties. I remember that it was late and that there weren’t many cars on the road, and that the ride started off pleasantly enough, though the driver was a little manic and talky, as if he’d been driving a long time and was jittery—but after we were on the road awhile, the swords came out. He had a collection of them in the back seat, and he’d twist around, practically climbing out of the driver’s seat, to grab one, unsheathe it, and then explain how it was designed to kill or maim, while waving it in front of my face. Almost everything else about the memory is fuzzy now, except for those swords slicing through the air while I pushed myself as far back in the passenger’s seat as possible. I don’t remember how the ride ended, or what happened next. But those swords made a deep impression. Hitchhiking is dangerous; anything can happen. And that’s where Wolf Point starts.”

Wolf Point will be published in October by Unbridled Books, the same publisher which brought out his short story collection, Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha this past May.

The world events of September 11, 2001 and the 2003 invasion of Iraq serve to ground the novel in time, but the main action takes place over several days on a road trip north from Salem, Virginia, where the 57-year old businessman Tom “T” Walker, has been exiled after the breakup of his second marriage and the disintegration of his life. He knows better than to pick up two hitchhikers, a young woman and her threatening boyfriend, but he is so isolated that any contact will be an improvement.

Categorized by the publisher as a “literary thriller”, Wolf Point brings us the same quirky, sometimes menacing characters and vivid places we find in the stories. Despite the sometimes driving plot, this is a quiet book, full of contemplation by the narrator on love, regret, and redemption. It bears reading and re-reading.

As in the case of the short story collection, there will be a book launch including a reading and signing on Tuesday, September 20, at 7pm at The Easy Chair Bookstore in Blacksburg. Falco will be a panelist at the September 29-30 Virginia Writers Celebration at Virginia Tech and will read again at Hollins University in late October.

Falco’s In the Park of Culture, a collection of short fictions from The University of Notre Dame Press also came out this year. His earlier books include the novel Winter in Florida (Soho, 1990), the hypertext novel, A Dream with Demons (Eastgate Systems, 1997), the hypertext poetry collection, Sea Island (Eastgate Systems, 1995), and a chapbook of the prose poem, Concert in the Park of Culture (Tamarack, 1985), as well as two collections of short stories: Acid (Notre Dame, 1996) and Plato at Scratch Daniel’s & Other Stories (University of Arkansas Press, 1990). His stories have been published in magazines including The Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, and TriQuarterly, and collected in the Best American Short Stories, the Pushcart Prize, and several anthologies. As a playwright, Falco is the author of Home Delivery, Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha, Radon, Welcome to Castle in the Air, and Possum Dreams.. He lives in Blacksburg, where he teaches writing and literature at Virginia Tech’s MFA program, and edits The New River, an online journal of digital writing.

For more information on the book launch, contact Russell Chisholm at 540-552-BOOK. To read an excerpt

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