This exquisitely crafted collection includes several stories set in Kenya, offering tantalizing glimpses of life in that troubled but fascinating country beyond the picturesque game parks. In “Mistaken Identity,” a blunder by an American groom-to-be at a traditional Kikuyu engagement ceremony lands him in hot water with his fiancée. “Something Small” depicts the inner struggles of a man trying to remain honest amid a culture of corruption. In “Departure,” an expatriate returning to Nairobi for a visit discovers her brother’s plans to raze the family home. Despairing of changing his mind, she sets off on what she expects will be a nostalgic voyage to the coast via the overnight train. Sadly typical of the Kenya to which she has come back, however, the elegant conveyances of her youth now exist only in her memory, and her journey becomes a grim test of her endurance.
The book concludes with the very poignant title story, “Wanderers.” The story hinges on an act of kindness shown by one nocturnal wanderer, a man whose life appears on the verge of unraveling, to another, his one-time law school professor, a formerly imposing figure whom age has left frail and disoriented.
Finely wrought and deeply moving, the stories in Wanderers will linger with the reader long beyond the final page.
|Publisher:||Stephen F. Austin University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
EDWARD BELFAR is a Long Island native who now lives with his wife in Maryland and works as a writer and editor. His fiction has appeared in Shenandoah, Tampa Review, Confrontation, Natural Bridge, and numerous other publications. His short story “Errors” was chosen as the winning entry in the Sport Literature Association’s 2008 fiction competition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed the book, "Wanderers," by Edward Belfar. The main characters in each of the stories were eccentric and dark, but I felt as if I could relate to their situations. Every time I reached the final paragraph and the last sentence, I wished that I could journey on with them a while longer to see where their roads took them. I would recommend this for book club discussions because the underlying root causes of the character's dilemmas are as mysterious and curious as the character's themselves.
Wanderers is chock full of stories where the craft is quietly submerged just beneath the events and characters, where it does its work without intrusion. Most of these stories are highly evocative of a single particular place or moment -- a Kenyan wedding, a bar in Rome in the company of a random stranger on a woeful night, a family disappointment hiding out in a fleabag Baltimore hotel. Some stories expose strange intersections of professions with human spirit -- baseball, medicine, the law. One of the last, "The Rule of Law," is also quietly hilarious. How about a lawsuit regarding therapeutic aura cleansing? "Naturally, we went to court, instead of dropping them both out of an airplane as we should have. ... I took a good look at the jury. It was the usual collection of the lame, the halt, the deaf, the blind, the drunk, the senile, and the terminally stupid." These fifteen excursions to some of the side roads are really fine storytelling, Enjoy.
This collection has an effervescent quality that transforms the mundane lives chronicled on these pages into something poetic. Belfar’s stories are peppered with irony, sadness and humor by a storyteller at the top of his game.