Stephen F. Austin University Press, 9781936205479, 272pp.
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
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.
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.