The Acorn Storiesby Duane Simolke
Visit the West Texas town of Acorn! Enjoy the German festival, a high school football game, homemade apple pie from the Turner Street Café, and the cool shade of a hundred-year-old oak tree. Meet dedicated teachers, unusual artists, shrewd business owners, closeted gays, and concerned neighbors. See how lives become intertwined in moments of humor or tragedy. Just be careful, because in Acorn, the sky is always falling!
From romantic comedy to razor-sharp satire to moments of quiet reflection, Duane Simolke’s award-winning tales transform a fictional West Texas town into a tapestry of human experiences.
- iUniverse, Incorporated
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Duane Simolke¿s, 'The Acorn Stories,' is set in the fictional West Texas town of Acorn, so named because it¿s the only town in the entire region that has trees, thanks to the foresight of its founders. The stories are a compilation of vignettes that give the reader a glimpse into the everyday happenings of a group of residents whose lives, we learn as the chapters unfold, interconnect in fascinating and unexpected ways. With each new story, or chapter, the reader is introduced to a new character. The stories and lives of the citizens of Acorn interweave, turning 'The Acorn Stories' into what is essentially a novel¿quite a feat for the author to accomplish in a relatively short book. Simolke allows the reader peeks into the thoughts of diverse characters, from a policeman's recollection of his abusive childhood, to the befuddled thoughts of a senile old man. We see events from the points of view of a deaf man who manages to do a good job as the high school¿s English teacher, an esteemed best selling author desperately trying to escape life's travails, and a young couple who find love and, like it or not, become parents at a most unexpected time and place¿the opening of an Art Gallery that happens to be owned by the teacher¿s boyfriend. A small example of how the stories go around. ¿The Acorn Stories¿ allows the reader an understanding of the human condition. We learn what makes each individual¿s personality tick. Simolke¿s characters are male and female, young and old, black and white, rich and poor, gay and straight, handicapped and gifted, happy and sad, satisfied and searching, hypocritical and fair-minded. The ability to depict such a wide cross section of humanity, including details of each character¿s breadth of knowledge and experience, takes a talented, insightful author, and Duane Simolke is such a writer. I dislike giving ratings to books¿they are too subjective¿but The Acorn Stories deserves 5 stars as a very intelligently written book. Don¿t miss it.
Here's a collection of insightful short stories by Duane Simolke to put right any misconcepton that there's anything even vaguely Edenesque about living in small-town rural America. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you! Life could never be as picture-perfect, innocent, wonderful, peaceful, crime-free, simple ... ad infinitum ... as people reminiscing of 'life down on the farm' would have us believe. Believe that it is, and you'll be the first to have someone knocking on your door and successfully selling you ocean-front property in Texas. And speaking of Texas (west Texas, to be more specific), that's where Acorn, the small town of which Simolke writes, is located. Acorn being one of the common factors that holds together this array of sixteen short stories that exquisitely plumbs the depths of small-town angst and lays bare the existing insecurities, jealousies, hates, loves, fears, and rampant dysfunctionality usually only associated with big-city living. As characters from one story suddenly turn up in another, as plots intermingle, as personality traits of protagonists from one story are explained away in another segment of Acorn's chronicles, it's made more than clear that no one is ever going to find peace of mind anywhere (no matter his or her geographical location), except inside himself/herself. To reach that realization, in itself, is well worth the price of admission charged by Simolke's book publisher for this literary peek beneath the oh-so-false down-on-the-farm veneer of rural small towns like Acorn, west Texas.