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Monday, September 08, 2008

Entrekin

I don’t claim to be an expert on short stories. In fact, I’ve read more of them in the last two years than I probably read in the previous ten, and it took a conscious effort on my part for that to happen because a love of short stories does not come naturally to me. But I knew that I was missing some important writing, and over the years I had accumulated almost 100 short story collections in my personal library, so I knew that it was way past time to kill my apathy regarding the genre. As a result of that effort, I’ve come to love short fiction and I continue to discover new writers all the time - and I’m finally justifying all the money I spent on those books so many years ago.

Entrekin is one of those instances where I’ve discovered a writer completely new to me, as I’m sure he will be to most of you. Will Entrekin has collected the best of his early writing into a collection that he calls simply Entrekin. The book is a collection of short stories, poetry and short pieces of non-fiction that reveal, I suspect, so much about the author himself that Entrekin is the perfect title for the collection,

Will Entrekin seems to be, first and foremost, a romantic. Several of his short stories share the wistful theme of a continuing search for that perfect woman who just has to be out there somewhere. The narrators of stories like “For Cynthia,” “Dear Author,” Wandering,” and, “A Little Heaven” (perhaps my favorite of the entire collection) may not always be lucky in love but none of them are prepared to quit the game. The narrator of “A Little Heaven,” for instance, connected so well with the French student he met at university that he found himself speaking perfect French and seeing France intimately through her eyes. It was the spookily perfect melding of two minds and he was certain that he had found the one - until he became as equally certain that it would never work. But despite a loss of even that magnitude, our hero still has faith that there is someone out there for him and he will continue the search.

Will Entrekin is a writer who may just be on the verge of a career breakthrough and his stories frankly reveal just how badly he wants that to happen. But, if his short fiction really is a reflection of the man, Entrekin would postpone that success long enough to find the woman of his dreams. Now, as someone who has himself dreamed of what it would be like to have success as a writer, I can easily feel the romance in his willingness to postpone success for love.

Entrekin is not an easy collection to describe because, in a sense, it is all over the map. In addition to the short stories and poetry, there are some very serious pieces here, especially Entrekin’s description of what he experienced in New York City on September 11, 2001. But there’s also the almost farcical comedy of “Donorhood” in which Entrekin recounts his experience as a potential sperm donor and there’s the rather touching account of the love he felt for his sister as a teenager, a love so strong that he could not say no when she asked him to help out in her ballet recital (“Man in Tights”).

And I found a little bonus at the end of Entrekin, the first two chapters of A Different Tomorrow, the time travel novel he’s working on now. I call this a bonus because I’m a total sucker for time travel stories all the way back to when I struggled through H.G. Wells books as a youngster. The first chapter, in particular, has me curious to see what Will Entrekin has in store for the characters he introduces here.

No, this is not a perfect book, but did you really expect a collection of an author’s earliest work to be perfect? As it is, though, there is a lot to like here and Entrekin is a fun look at the beginning of what just might turn out to be a very successful writing career - and you will have been there when it all started.

If you’re curious, Mr. Entrekin offers a download of the entire book for $2.50 and free downloads of several of the individual pieces from the book. You have nothing to lose and you just might enjoy what you find.

Rated at: 3.5
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