Ben Soltzfus: Falling and Other Stories
Thursday, October 4 • 7 PM
Downtown Riverside Library
3851 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside
On Thursday, October 4, join us for the first installment of Inlandia’s Arts Walk for Book Lovers at the Main branch of the Riverside Public Library, downtown, upstairs, on the first Thursday of every month. In October, our featured author is Ben Stoltzfus, who will be presenting and discussing his newest publication, Falling and Other Stories (Anaphora Press, 2018).
Falling and Other Stories, a novella and six short fictions, is by turn mythic and realistic, moving and wistful, innovative and traditional. It maps a wide geography of human emotions: lust, adventure, love, alienation, explicit violence and implicit passion. Ben Stoltzfus makes each character–a glamour girl, a scuba queen, a shaman, a mountain climber, a skier, a ball-court superstar, women in distress, even strangers–come vividly alive. In “Falling” you, the narrator, climb toward the summit with Juan, your friend, following flashbacks in the narrative trail. In “The Bank,” a father and son come to terms with a lifetime of estrangement. In “Glamour Girl,” a woman reminisces about her husbands, rich people, Joe Louis and happy days in the spotlight. In “Scuba Queen,” two college friends, now in their thirties, dive for abalone in the kelp beds of the Pacific Ocean where their rivalry begets a dangerous and miraculous denoument. “Masks and Bergamasks” is a love monologue, a silent conversation between a teacher and a student during a lecture on French Symbolist poetry. In “Samantha’s Choice,” three friends debate free will versus determinism, and are caught in an avalanche while skiing Mount Washington. In “The Games of Chichén Itzà,” a shaman dreams Mayan life and ritual into a dramatic ball-court encounter between two teams; the play of the gods is re-enacted as struggle, blood-sacrifice and renewal. Subtly honed with hallmark precision and keen insight this wide-ranging collection exemplifies the best in narrative art.
Ben Stoltzfus is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. He is a novelist, translator, literary critic and internationally recognized inter-arts scholar. He has published 12 monographs of literary criticism, five novels and one collection of short stories. Romoland, a pictonovel, his most recent publication, was written in collaboration with Judith Palmer, the artist. He has received many awards: Fulbright, Camargo, Gradiva, Humanities, Creative Arts, and MLA. Stoltzfus lives in Riverside, California, with Judith Palmer, his wife.
Reading will be followed by light refreshments and book sales and signing.
This event is free and open to the public.