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The World of a Few Minutes Ago

Stories by Jack Driscoll

Publication Year: 2012

In The World of a Few Minutes Ago, award-winning author Jack Driscoll renders ten stories from the point of view of characters aged fourteen to seventy-seven with a consistently deep understanding of each character’s internal world and emotional struggles. All of the stories are set against the quiet, powerful northern Michigan landscape and share a sense of longing, amplified by the beautiful but often unforgiving surroundings. With keen attention to the nuances of his characters and their lives, Driscoll explores both their attachments to the past and their as-yet-unseen futures as he considers relationships between loves, old friends, and parents and their children. A twelve-year-old boy accompanies his father on a secret run to the slaughterhouse where he recently lost his job. A middle-aged divorcé waits to witness the execution of the man who murdered his daughter decades earlier. A seventy-seven-year-old man reassesses both his fifty-year marriage and his career as an AP war photographer. A sixteen-year-old girl drives through a snowstorm in a clandestine meeting with her driver’s education instructor. A twentysomething couple breaks into houses to ignite the passion in their relationship. Each story is carefully crafted and lovingly delivered, as characters weigh their own feelings against their complicated perceptions of other people and the action swirling around them. Driscoll’s Michigan shapes these people as surely as their grief and joy, as the setting often becomes a physical touchstone to which characters turn to navigate the immensity of the unknown universe. Few authors have the flexibility of voice and the emotional range and depth of Driscoll, who is at his best in this collection. Readers of fiction will enjoy The World of A Few Minutes Ago.

Published by: Wayne State University Press

Series Page

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pp. ii-\

Title Page

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pp. iii


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pp. iv


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

These stories, sometimes in a slightly different form, appeared in the following publications:...

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pp. 1-16

There’s a ladder that leans against the back of the house, a sort of stairway to the roof where Marley-Anne and I sometimes sit after another donnybrook. You know the kind, that whump of words that leaves you dumbstruck and hurt...

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pp. 17-38

Their names: Mitchell and Michelle, and I couldn’t help but wonder from what little he divulged if all similarities between them ended there....

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After Everyone Else Has Left

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pp. 39-53

Doyle Laidlaw has never attended an execution, has never, one way or another, asserted a conviction—pro or con—concerning capital punishment. He is an ex-husband and the father, still, of one daughter. That daughter, Ellie...

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Saint Ours

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pp. 54-68

Here’s what the guy I don’t live with anymore said: “Charlene, if you could only imagine yourself as a feral, teeth-bearing, timber wolf bitch in heat, then you and me—we’d be a whole lot better suited.” His name is Paulie. And...

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This Season of Mercy

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pp. 69-88

Your dad spends the night in a small-town jail cell for women and believe me, the hang-ups begin, the crank calls, the muffled late-night threats, the sharpshooter’s heavy silence. It’s possible, dressed like he was on a Saturday night, and...

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Long After the Sons Go Missing

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pp. 89-105

Playing over and over in Karl Radoszkowicz’s head is not his wife’s insistent caution for him to wear his safety harness but his promise to her that he does—Always, without exception, he tells her, cinched tightly—when in fact he has...

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The Dangerous Lay of the Land

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pp. 106-124

Bare-armed and bare-legged in mid-February, Geneva is maybe a minute or two shy of the serious shivers and shakes. And Mr. Silvo, accidentally on purpose—or so she believes—has left the key in the ignition and, having returned...

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Travel Advisory

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pp. 125-139

For all that my dad lost in his life, he was lucky at pure chance: raffles, bingo, drawings for food baskets. It was that way beating stoplights, too, and finding parking spots downtown on shopping nights, time always left on the...

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Sky Riders

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pp. 140-157

In late August, our dads off on their National Guard duty, me and Iwo patrolled the town’s outskirts on our motorbikes, the Aurora Borealis igniting the entire sky like tracer fire. Like incoming, we’d yell, and balls-to-brains we’d bend...

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The World of a Few Minutes Ago

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pp. 158-173

My name is Clyde Frysinger and my wife, Mary-Helen, is asleep upstairs in the spare bedroom down the hall. A recent and unexpected move, for which no explanation has been offered, and I haven’t, nor will I, inquire as to why. We...

E-ISBN-13: 9780814336137
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814336120

Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1