A Kind of Flying: Selected Stories (Paperback)
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393324792, 464pp.
Publication Date: October 17, 2003
Ron Carlson's stories, sometimes wicked or bittersweet, often zany, are rich with a hard-earned hopefulness frequently absent in contemporary fiction. In this generous gathering from collections no longer available, longtime fans and new readers alike can savor the development of a master of idiosyncrasy.
Properly celebrated for his range, Carlson offers us a rural sheriff who's wary of UFOs ("Phenomena"), a lawyer on a mission in remote Alaska ("Blazo"), a baseball player turned killer-by-accident ("Zanduce at Second"), and a nineteen-year-old who experiences an unsettling sexual awakening during an Arizona summer ("Oxygen"). Here also is a man accusing Bigfoot of stealing his wife, followed by Bigfoot's incomparable response. Not least of the treasures is "The H Street Sledding Record," a story perfect for family holiday reading, in which a young father creates the magic of Santa by throwing manure on his roof on Christmas Eve.
This book proves Carlson's axiom that "a short story is not a single thing done a single way," and it offers us--finally--a full view of his remarkable talents.