Love, death, humor, and the glue called family are the elements of this sometimes intense, often funny collection of short stories. As novelist David Scott Milton explains, "In this collection, Christopher Meeks examines the small heartbreaks of quiet despair that are so much a part of all our lives. He does it in language that is resonant, poetic, and precise.... If you like Raymond Carver, you'll love Meeks. He may be as good--or better." In one narrative, a man wakes up one morning to find the odor of dead fish won't go away, but no one else can smell it. In another, a couple's visit with friends to watch the Academy Awards has the protagonist envying his friends' lawn and lifestyle. In these and eleven other stories, Christopher Meeks balances tragedy and wit. Most of the pieces have been previously published in such award-winning journals as Rosebud, the Clackamas Literary Review, and the Southern California Anthology.
Christopher gives an overview of the book:
A man smelled something odd nearby. The odor was sharp, worse than a dead fish slithering with maggots. No matter which way he turned, and wherever he went, the scent followed.
"I don't smell anything," said Ziva, his wife, who looked at him as if he were going to give her trouble again. "Maybe you should go back to your doctor."
"This has nothing to do with my liver," he replied.
"Then see a shrink," she said.
Their son, Ben, ten, said that the house always smelled badly, like old socks from a funeral home. He must have heard it on a TV show--what does he know of funeral homes? Their teenage daughter, Judith (no longer Judy), simply said, "Oh, Dad," as if smell were a choice like selecting the kind of clothes he did for himself that embarrassed her-gray sweaters, wing-tip shoes. He was too conservative for his daughter--too boring for his wife, too old for his son.
The man bathed himself twice each day, once before and once after work. He was the bookkeeper at Monty's Carpet World. Even there, among the giant bolts of new and untrammeled berber, Olefin loop, and Monsanto Wear Dated II nylon, he would be jolted with the scent of decay. Nobody showed any response to indicate he or she, too, smelled it. He went to his doctor when he could no longer sleep. The pulsing odor kept him awake.
"Why can't I smell something better, like jasmine?" he told his old friend, Dr. Feinberg.
"Jasmine doesn't bloom this time of year," said the doctor.
Christopher Meeks writes short fiction and novels. His book of short stories, The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea earned great reviews including the Los Angeles Times ("poignant and wise") and a blurb in Entertainment Weekly that said, "A...
For those readers fortunate enough to have read Christopher Meeks’ first short story collection - THE MIDDLE-AGED MAN AND THE SEA - and discovered the idiosyncrasies of Meeks’ writing style and content,...