Sunday, July 26, 2009

Read-it-First: Concord, Virginia: A Southern Town in Eleven Stories

Last week, the St. Martin's Read-it-First selection was Concord, Virginia: A Southern Town in Eleven Stories, a debut by Peter Neofotis. This is a collection of short stories that tells a story. What type of story? Each short takes place in Concord and offers a little piece of history of its inhabitants. Twenty one pages were offered and amongst those pages, there was one complete story and one partial story. In the complete story, The Vultures, we meet a man who accidentally killed his wife. We watch him struggle between nature and keeping a promise to his dead wife. Does he come to terms with things? Can he find meaning in his life after his tragic loss? The story does offer an answer to these questions; however, I am not sure that I agree – it has kept me thinking. In the partial story, The Snake Man, we are introduced to two characters, Sammy and Rachel. Rachel, a reporter for the local paper, wants to interview Sammy, a veteran of the Korean war, about his experiences in order to prepare those going off to Vietnam. Sammy, reluctant to speak of his experiences, goes to great lengths to avoid her. When last we see them, they are swimming in the river while poisonous snakes approach. What will happen next?

I do not read many short story collections; however, this one did intrigue me. I enjoyed the writing style – it was quite descriptive, presenting a clear picture of the surroundings in both stories. The stories were a bit odd but, I would like to read more. Is there more than the locale that ties these stories together? I hope so.

Looking forward to next week's preview!


  1. I really enjoy short fiction, and this collection sound intriguing. Thanks for your review, Cathy.

  2. This is a great looking book and I enjoyed your review of it. I too am not a short story fan.... I like full length novels. Occasionally, I make an exception. :)

  3. This one is intriguing! I love the off-beat, so I may have to look for this one.

  4. Will it be a series and that's why it was unfinished? or that was just his style to have unfinished story? I'm curious now! But, I love short story collections...

  5. Kathryn:

    The Read-it-First program presents its readers with a short selection of pages from a book. I believe that all of the short stories are actually finished - I just did not receive two complete stories during the sample set of pages.