"Writers aren't exactly people … they're a whole lot of people trying to be one person." In Dennis Must's third story collection, Going Dark, the narrators mirror F. Scott Fitzgerald's observation by drawing the reader into their dissimilar yarns, earthy or exalted, practical or fanciful. An aging actor looks back on his life, but whose life does he recall? A couple finds a novel way to spice up their marriage, but then the fantasy takes on a life of its own …. Middle-aged men struggle to cope with distracted wives and terminal loneliness. They look back on hapless childhoods to come to terms with what drove their parents or siblings to suicide, infidelity, or madness. Post World War II Midwest is the predominant setting, and Must's poetic gift captures its moods, textures and odors and gives it form and substance in vivid colors and dramatic shades of gray. Their author has been variously compared to Franz Kafka, Flannery O'Connor, Nathaniel West, and Nathanial Hawthorne.
|Publisher:||Epicenter Press, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.42(d)|
About the Author
Dennis Must is the author of two other short story collections: Oh, Don't Ask Why, Red Hen Press (2007), and Banjo Grease, Creative Arts Book Company, Berkeley, CA (2000). His first novel, The World's Smallest Bible, was published by Red Hen Press in March of 2014. His second novel, Hush Now, Don't Explain, was published by Coffeetown Press in October of 2014. His plays have been performed Off Off Broadway, and his fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary reviews. Dennis and his wife Aviva live in Massachusetts. Visit him online at www.dennismust.com.
Read an Excerpt
An Excerpt from “Houseguest”:
The following morning he found a pair of brown leather bluchers squirreled away in the corner of the garage. In the garden shedalongside a spade whose handle had broken, a rake with several tines missing, and a package of nasturtium seedsa man’s Elgin watch dangling by its crocodile leather strap from a nail. Edgar shook it, causing it to tick alive.
That second night he placed the timepiece next to his head. He dreamed he heard the former tenant’s heart beating in the upstairs bedroom, the large one with the porthole to the attic where the stoup remained, and that, by some miraculous intervention, he’d learned to play Debussy. That his fingers had taken on a life of their own and astonishingly begun to fly over the keys, producing the lovely sounds.
Would the shoes fit? he wondered. And what did the gentleman look like? (The house sale had been arranged by a lawyer for the former occupant’s estate.) Was there a photograph secreted somewhere in the house?
These items that I’ve discovered are meant for me to puzzle together. They’re talismans of some sort. How could it be otherwise? Why was the piano left behind? The shoes and the watch? Surely there is a photograph lying about somewhere.
The kitchen cupboards lay bare.
The medicine chest in the upstairs bath was sparkling clean. In the harsh overhead light, he spotted a slit in the cabinet’s back for discarded razor blades. How many had fallen to pile up in the cavity of the studded walls? Were they blue steel or silver? Were any stained with blood?
He checked the smaller bedroom closets. Each was empty, the top shelf lined with fading newspaper.
Inside the Bösendorfer!
Moonlight puddled its closed lid. A brittle manila packet lay across its strings. He emptied its contents upon the parquet floor.
A glossy photograph of a nude sitting before an oval dressing mirror accompanied a song book, its pages dog-eared with several missing. The woman stared at Edgar in the mirror, and behind her, a shellacked-hair male wearing a tweed jacket.
Younger … yes, but I swear it’s me. Who is she? The china breasts with plum aureoles. The raven hair spiraling over her left shoulder. The mirror casting a silver light on her narrow waist and willowy thighs.
Edgar lifted the glossy to his face. His double stared at him over her shoulder. Not at her. Erotic as she was … but at him.
He lay under the Bösendorfer, tossing and turning, the photograph alongside.