If you love short stories, appreciate writing that shimmers with quiet beauty, long to be transformed by brief, intense immersions into other people’s harrowing and astonishing lives – then go to Egg Heaven.
Nine short stories about waitresses who work in diners and customers who can barely afford to eat there. Nine living worlds created in a Southern California no tourist will ever see. Diverse characters connected by filaments of hope amidst all the different ways a human can hunger.
I won’t even pretend
The author, Robin Parks – who won the Raymond Carver Short Story Award – is a long-time friend of mine. And Egg Heaven is the first book published by Shade Mountain Press, which in November will publish my novel.
So no, I won’t even pretend to objective. But let me tell you some of the things I love about this book.
Let me count the ways
With a few deft strokes, Robin creates indelible characters. For example, one character takes up less than two pages, yet is unforgettable as she tries to recruit a desperate young woman into the Marines by assuring her she will save money because “quite frankly honey, you will be too dog tired to spend it.”
The book creates a powerful sense of place. Long Beach, California and the elements themselves serve as characters. I reveled in descriptions such as “the long sigh of the outgoing surf,” and “So deep was the strength of the ocean that she could feel it shudder beneath her.”
Pages glint with beautiful writing and haunting evocations of loss. For instance, we experience a young woman playing her section of a piano duet she used to play with her twin sister, who has recently been killed. “She played her part like the one leaf in a bush that shivers in the wind when all the others are still.”
Don’t take my word for it
It’s not just me – lots of people love Egg Heaven. In the influential journal Foreword Reviews, Sara Budzik wrote, “Parks is a master of the short story and of using elements of place and resource as common threads between people. She connects lost souls to something they found in these diners and restaurants, and it connects us all with the poetry of the human experience.”
The book’s official publication date is October 1. But you can pre-order now if you click here. Read Egg Heaven, and let me know what you think. You won’t be sorry.