A linked collection of very short storiesat once funny and poignantset in postwar Buffalo, New York. Illustrated in color with the author’s own critically acclaimed collages.
"It all began in Buffalo between World War II and the Korean Conflict, as it was called, when the guys would meet up late at night in a diner for their brand of fellowship. They were mostly high school graduates in their late teens and early twenties, the sons of immigrant families. It didn’t matter; there was little trace of that showing. They didn’t look or act alike, but they had a sense of who they were, sort of proud for some reason, without much to show for it."
—from the Introduction
At the center of the group was Arnie. He might have been selling real estate for the time being, but he always had his eye on the next thing—Christmas tree farming, perhaps, or uranium mining. Then there were Moe, who had a gas station and garage, and Barney, who drove a truck for Pop’s Pies. Observing it all was an art student working odd jobs to afford his paints and brushes—Phil.
In 110 vignettes about Arnie and the guys, Philip Sultz presents a fictionalized portrait of the working-class Buffalo of his youth. He also vividly sketches the downtown Manhattan of those days, where his protagonists are drawn to study and to work. These stories—by turns funny and poignant, perfectly told and full of telling details—evoke not only the life of two cities, but the atmosphere of postwar America. Even in shadow of McCarthyism and the atom bomb, it was a time emblematic of possibility and change.
Lake Effect Days is illustrated with color reproductions of Sultz’s critically acclaimed collages, which echo the text in their formal perfection and add new layers of allusion.
|Publisher:||Abbeville Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Philip Sultz was born in Buffalo, New York, and began his artistic studies at the Albright Art School there in 1949. Sultz is professor emeritus of art at Webster University in St. Louis, and his visual work was represented for over three decades by Allan Stone Gallery in New York. He was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and has exhibited extensively. Sultz is also an accomplished writer whose poetry and prose have been published in numerous journals, including Fifth Wednesday and the Hopkins Review. He lives in Maine.
What People are Saying About This
Praise for Lake Effect Days by Philip Sultz
“I liked Sultz’s work from the start. It’s energetic, original, real, natural. He gets voice down as well as any writer I’ve read. His stories are mostly funny, but a few are touching. It’s rare that I click with a writer’s work so quickly, but I did with his. His timing is perfect. He is among the very best contemporary writers I know of.”
— Stephen Dixon, two-time National Book Award finalist, author of Frog and Interstate
“My heart split open as I read these stories, remembering the similar tales told by my husband’s family about Jewish Buffalo in the 40s and 50s. These brief narratives elicit strong responses.”
— Lucy Kogler, Literary Hub
"Brief indeed, are these stories—a page, mostly. . . . Sultz is, by trade, an artist who has written portraits of Buffalo people from a generation whose full delightful particularities are unexpected and compelling."
— Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News
“Philip Sultz is a natural. By zeroing in on a moment, a conversation, an incident, or an encounter, Sultz has composed a series of literary snapshots of times past. There’s a beautiful quietness about these fragmentary life studies. There’s something glancing, informal, caught-on-the-quick about Sultz’s recollections of encounters with people, places, and things. As we take in more and more of Sultz’s stories, they begin to compose not only a personal album but also a communal albumthe history of a generation. Sultz has for most of his life been better known as a painter than as a writer. His artistic and literary activities are informed by the same pungent poetic gift. Sultz’s remembrances will make a remarkable booksomething for readers to plunge into, to savor, and to return to time and again.”
— Jed Perl, author of Calder: The Conquest of Time and New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century
“ Lake Effect Days is a wonderful snapshot of a Buffalo that no longer exists, save for in the memories of the people who were there. Philip Sultz captures not only the sights and sounds, but the feeling and very essence of what it was like to be a Buffalo kid of yesteryear.”
— Steve Cichon, Buffalo pop culture historian, buffalostories.com
“For some time now I’ve been following Philip Sultz’s capsule narratives of his early years as a young artist among ‘the guys’ of his primal neighborhood in early postwar working-class Buffalo. The authentic tone and movement of these works is remarkable, and the cumulative effect shows this as a unified work of attention and imagination. In all of it, too, he knows so well when to begin a story and when and how to end it, and the voices of his guys ring wonderfully true to life and crystal clear. An empathic and often comic and sublime work of art by a man who has dedicated his life to making art happen.”
— Jerome Rothenberg, poet and editor of Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe, and Oceania
“We’ve always known Philip Sultz can work with a brush and palette. In Lake Effect Days he displays equal ability to create compositions with words. Anyone interested in the intersection between visual art and fiction will enjoy these stories.”
—Gregg Easterbrook, author, The Leading Indicators