Summary and book reviews of Apparition & Late Fictions by Thomas Lynch

Apparition & Late Fictions

A Novella and Stories

by Thomas Lynch

Apparition & Late Fictions
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2010, 216 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2011, 224 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Casey Cep

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About this Book

Book Summary

Heart-rending stories of life and death: a debut fiction collection by the award-winning author of The Undertaking.

A Methodist minister gone astray, a grieving trout bum gone fishing with his father’s remains, an artist overwhelmed by incarnate beauty—these are just a few of the iconic yet utterly unique characters in Thomas Lynch’s spirited collection. Set in Michigan’s north woods, in Ohio’s interior, on islands, in casinos, and in distant cities, these stories are linked by the gone and not forgotten: former spouses, dead parents, and missing children. In pursuit of love and its redemptions, these are pilgrims haunted by memory, dogged by desire, made radiant by romance and its denouements.

With the elegant prose of Frederick Busch and the Irish sensibility of William Trevor, Lynch masterfully creates a world where mirage and apparition are commonplace, where people searching for connection and old comforts find them both near at hand and oddly out of reach.

Catch and Release

The thermos bottle with his father’s ashes in it rested on the front seat of the drift boat. He was glad to have the morning’s busy work behind him and to be in the river. The green thermos with the silver cap looked inconspicuous enough.

Neither the waitress at the All Seasons Diner nor the other guides meeting their clients over biscuits and sausage gravy had noticed it. Nor had the woman from the tackle shop with whom he had arranged a car spot for his truck and trailer. He told her he’d be floating Walhalla to Custer and left her a set of keys. He took some twenty-pound shooting line, some ten-pound leader and eight-pound tippet, some split shot and a Snickers bar, some feathers and yarn. He’d been tying his own flies for years. “On account,” he told her, putting the gear on the counter.

“You’ll be a long way downstream from the other guides, Danny,” she told him. “Most of ’em are doing Green ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

It's as if Lynch has captured the constant vigilance and abiding presence of his professional life as a funeral director in his written words. When so many fiction writers crowd their stories and novels with hundreds of characters and thousands of extraneous details, it's calming to settle into Lynch's rich, tightly focused narratives... The old and the new, the living and the dead: this collection of short stories is a trove of carefully observed lives. If you're drawn to quiet, moving portraits and patient character studies, you'll find all this and more in Apparition and Late Fiction.   (Reviewed by Casey Cep).

Full Review Members Only (538 words).

Media Reviews

Los Angeles Times

[Lynch] is a careful writer... He creates his characters thoroughly, with much detail and background... In this way, he cares for his reader by taking the guesswork out of the fiction. He wants you to know exactly where you are in time and space. He is more interested in truth than speculation, substance than mystery.

Boston Globe

[T]oo often [Lynch] operates at too great a remove, making the book read occasionally like fictional reportage, albeit beautifully written... The saving grace of all of the stories, and the quality that keeps them afloat, is the frequent beauty of their prose.

Richmond Times-Dispatch

[A] quietly exhilarating book, full of beautiful writing and keen observations.

Publishers Weekly

Overall, Lynch seems at a loss for what to do with his fictional creations; haunted as they are by deaths and burdensome back stories, his character's present lives feel contrived.

Library Journal

Starred Review.There is wisdom, courage, and great depth of feeling here. The pieces in this powerful, meditative collection are all beautifully drawn; the title story is a masterpiece.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Compassion, mourning, joy and wit all play roles in this tender, insightful hefting of mortality's mysteries.

Irish Times

Meditative and politely laconic, this is a terrific collection from a writer who thinks and feels and tells stories with an engagingly distilled candour and assurance all his own.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

If the subject of the Inevitable piques your interest, may we suggest...
If you're looking for funeral fiction, William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying is the king of the canon. Its curious style creates a moving portrait of the Bundren Family attempting to bury its matriarch Addie Bundren. With almost sixty chapters and fifteen narrators, the novel is a diverse portrait of familial grief. Another brilliant account of death in the South is Eudora Welty's The Optimist's Daughter, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972. The passing of Judge Clint McKelva is the occasion for the novel, but his funeral and memory provide more than enough emotion and drama for his surviving daughter and young window. For something more contemporary, try Ian McEwan's ...

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