The pleasures of literary fiction are many but there is so much of it that I find myself looking for a certain kind of writing. Ideally, the tone of the work would be in the tragi-comic range with enough originality of character and conflict to suggest it is grounded in real life, yet also enough lightness and irony to keep it buoyant and moving along. Like the writing process itself, the reader often finds himself diverted from the customary path to a much more uncertain and problematical one. Some of my favorite fiction somehow manages the trick of allowing sadness to inhabit the same space with a kind of low key humor. Occasionally there may be a magical or supernatural element. So likewise in my stories, a guy unwittingly drops a torrid love note in the church collection basket; a jealous husband finds a unique way of seeking revenge against a romantic rival during a Christmas nativity play; a character who runs an independent wake up call service has trouble getting a crucial call of his own; a message written on a dollar bill and released into circulation somehow finds its way into the right hands; a father who plans to miss his daughter’s birthday party seeks the counsel of a friend who specializes in the “perfect excuse,” a condo owner is unwillingly elected president of the board with disastrous consequences, a beleaguered character finds refuge in the treehouse of a neighbor and becomes an unintended spy; a man who is mistaken for someone else decides to impersonate him following the clues in the conversation… So far this is a fairly scant body of work but here are samples of several published stories and a novel still in search of an agent.
December 20, 2017
The editing and proofreading and thousand other things that go into putting a book together are thankfully finished and my story collection Home and Castle is at last coming out in early January. (see www.snakenationpress.org for the Editor’s statement and further details). Most of the stories in it were originally published in literary journals such (…read more)
THOMAS BENZ graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame. He recently won the 2017 Serena McDonald Kennedy Award for a short story collection called “Home and Castle.” The book is to be published by Snake Nation Press in the fall. In the last several years, he has had fifteen stories (…read more)