The World of a Few Minutes Ago (Paperback)
Wayne State University Press, 9780814336120, 173pp.
Publication Date: February 15, 2012
In The World of a Few Minutes Ago, award-winning author Jack Driscoll renders ten stories from the point of view of characters aged fourteen to seventy-seven with a consistently deep understanding of each character's internal world and emotional struggles. All of the stories are set against the quiet, powerful northern Michigan landscape and share a sense of longing, amplified by the beautiful but often unforgiving surroundings. With keen attention to the nuances of his characters and their lives, Driscoll explores both their attachments to the past and their as-yet-unseen futures as he considers relationships between loves, old friends, and parents and their children.
A twelve-year-old boy accompanies his father on a secret run to the slaughterhouse where he recently lost his job. A middle-aged divorc? waits to witness the execution of the man who murdered his daughter decades earlier. A seventy-seven-year-old man reassesses both his fifty-year marriage and his career as an AP war photographer. A sixteen-year-old girl drives through a snowstorm in a clandestine meeting with her driver's education instructor. A twentysomething couple breaks into houses to ignite the passion in their relationship. Each story is carefully crafted and lovingly delivered, as characters weigh their own feelings against their complicated perceptions of other people and the action swirling around them. Driscoll's Michigan shapes these people as surely as their grief and joy, as the setting often becomes a physical touchstone to which characters turn to navigate the immensity of the unknown universe.
Few authors have the flexibility of voice and the emotional range and depth of Driscoll, who is at his best in this collection. Readers of fiction will enjoy The World of A Few Minutes Ago.