Ebook Announcement: Boxes of Time (Stories) by Jack Matthews

Book Description

In a few months, Personville Press will release a new story collection by Ohio author Jack Matthews (1925-2013) in ebook format. This is his 11th story collection.

Over his lifetime Jack Matthews wrote over 200 stories, many of which were published in literary journals during his lifetime. Although stories varied widely in subject and style, they often could be described as urbane, philosophical, poetic and sardonic.

Stories in the new collection Boxes of Time were mostly published between 1961 and 1981; they feature characters who are troubled or unsure of themselves trying to deal with life’s usual disappointments. Stylistically these stories are polished and carefully written, but they deal with messy emotions, troubled families and damaged personalities. The characters may not be as educated or self-assured as the people in Second Death of E.A. Poe (2021) or Crazy Women (1985), but they still manage to figure out interesting things about themselves and the people around them. Stories from this period focus especially on the emotional stresses that separate parents from their children. This collection also includes short historical fantasies which explore the darker side of well-known people in history.

This ebook contains 24 stories by Jack Matthews which have never been collected, making it the author’s largest story collection. Matthews picked “Boxes of Time” as the title for this collection because each story reveals the drama of worlds long since gone but whose dreams and fears and anxieties still resonate today.

Story Descriptions

  1. Introduction by Robert Nagle (Read it now!)
  2. The Knife. Tensions escalate between two brothers after one of them acquires a knife.
  3. A Slightly Different World. A young man becomes a sparring partner for a boxer he idolizes and discovers that everything isn’t what it appears.
  4. Last Voyage of Columbus. As Columbus reaches the New World, he meets Satan who shares a surprising truth.
  5. The Truth of Holcomb Street. A happy-go-lucky small town radio show host is egged on by his wife to get a job interview with a New York City radio station.
  6. Edward Colburn. A paradoxical tale about an author who aspires to write like Sherwood Anderson, but talks very little (unlike his wife).
  7. Gift from a Silent Lover. A woman with two kids is supposed to meet her husband at a 24 hour diner, but he doesn’t show.
  8. Stone in the Path. As a father prepares to talk to his 13 year old boy about sex, he recalls a strange episode when his father was having the same kind of talk with him.
  9. Dream of Four Women. A slow and troubled college student writes letters to several females who make him angry for various reasons.
  10. Night and a Fire on the Hill. For some reason the regular hunting trip that a college student takes with his dad feels unusual.
  11. Names of My Brothers. A boy with three overachieving brothers feels ignored by his mother until they go off to war.
  12. When the Shark, Babe. A sad middle-aged woman is disliked by other people at an office, and the manager has to deal with it.
  13. Absent though Unforgotten. After a man abandons a woman he got pregnant, his son later tracks him down to find some answers.
  14. The Betrayal. A teenage boy is intrigued by and suspicious of his mother’s sophisticated lady friend.
  15. Cleo and Time. A nurse hired to care for a seriously disabled man starts to be viewed suspiciously by the person who hired her.
  16. The Fish Pond. A divorced man hangs around his ex-wife’s house to build a fish pond for their kids.
  17. Comrades. After a disastrous battle, a French sergeant in Napoleon’s army becomes exasperated with a loyal but simple-minded soldier who continues to follow him.
  18. Swift as the Shadow of the Falling, Ah Wave. After an educated woman gives birth unexpectedly in an Appalachian town, she and her husband attract the attention of a nosy minister.
  19. How the Trees Were Cursed. Old letters offer clues about what may have happened to the trees in Ohio.
  20. Ponce De Leon. Various reports emerge about whether the famed 16th Spanish explorer actually found the Fountain of Youth.
  21. The Walnut Tree. A young couple has an absurd little conversation with a real estate agent about whether a property has a walnut tree.
  22. How Everything Will Be All Right. A mother of a newborn baby turns out not to be who she seems.
  23. Gravity. An 1828 lawsuit about the purchase of an “unsound horse” reveals the extent of superstitious beliefs in a small Ohio town.
  24. Wisdom of the Fingers. A music lover invents a device to capture the unseen finger movements of great pianists during their final days.
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