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What’s Left Out

| Filed under: Fiction, Literature & Medicine, Medicine
baruch cover

Conventional medical narratives often fail to capture the incoherent, surreal, and logic-twisting reality of the contemporary healthcare experience, where mystery, absurdity, and even cruelty are disguised as logic, reason, and compassion. In this new collection of stories by physician and writer Jay Baruch, characters struggle in their quest for meaning and a more hopeful tomorrow in a strange landscape where motivations are complex and convoluted and what is considered good and just operates as a perpetually shifting proposition.

 


The Bruiser

| Filed under: Black Squirrel Books, Fiction
Bruiser Book Cover

The Bruiser is the story of Shane Rory, a drifter who turns to boxing and works his way up the heavyweight ranks. Like Tully, Shane starts out as a road kid who takes up prizefighting. While The Bruiser is not an autobiographical work, it does draw heavily on Tully’s experiences of the road and ring. Rory is part Tully, but the boxers populating these briskly paced chapters are drawn from the many ring legends the writer counted among his friends: Jack Dempsey, Joe Gans, Stanley Ketchel, Gene Tunney, Frank Moran, and Johnny Kilbane, to name a few. The book is dedicated to Dempsey, the Roaring Twenties heavyweight champion, who said, “If I still had the punch in the ring that Jim Tully packs in The Bruiser, I’d still be the heavyweight champion of the world today.”

 


Beggars of Life

| Filed under: Black Squirrel Books, Fiction
Tully Book Cover

This novelistic memoir impressed readers and reviewers with its remarkable vitality and honesty. Tully’s devotion to Mark Twain and Jack London taught him the importance of giving the reader a sense of place, and this he does brilliantly, again and again, throughout Beggars of Life. From the opening conversation on a railroad trestle, Beggars of Life rattles along like the Fast Flyer Virginia that Tully boards midway through the book. This is the book that defined Tully’s hard-boiled style and set the pattern for the twelve books that followed over the next two decades. Startling in its originality and intensity, Beggars of Life is a breakneck journey made while clinging to the lowest rungs of the social ladder.

 


Shanty Irish

| Filed under: Black Squirrel Books, Fiction
Irish Book Cover

A hard-edged mixture of hilarious and heartbreaking memories, Tully’s autobiographical Shanty Irish digs deep into the soil of his native Ohio to show what life was like in the late nineteenth century for a poor Irish-American family. Within the covers of this acclaimed work, we meet the author’s father, also named Jim Tully, “a gorilla built” ditchdigger whose stooped shoulders carry “the inherited burdens of a thousand dead Irish peasants.” We meet his mother, Biddy, a “woman of imagination” who “had all the moods of April.” We meet his uncle, ruthless John Lawler, who was tried, convicted, and sentenced to fifteen years in the Ohio penitentiary for stealing horses. And we meet his grandfather, Old Hughie Tully, “born with the gift of words”—“capable of turning death into an Irish wake and pouring liquor down the throat of the corpse.”

 


Circus Parade

| Filed under: Black Squirrel Books, Fiction
Circus Book Cover

Based on his time as a circus laborer, Circus Parade presents the sordid side of small-time circus life. Tully’s use of fast-paced vignettes and unforgettable characters made this book one of his most successful, both commercially and critically. Among the cast is Cameron, the shifty circus owner; Lila, the lonely four-hundred-pound strong woman; and Blackie, an amoral drug addict.

 


Under Kilimanjaro

| Filed under: Fiction, Hemingway Studies, Literature & Literary Criticism
Hemingway Book Cover

Under Kilimanjaro is the last of Hemingway’s manuscripts to be published in its entirety. Editors Robert W. Lewis and Robert E. Fleming believe that “this book deserves as complete and faithful a publication as possible without editorial distortion, speculation, or textually unsupported attempts at improvement. Our intent has been to produce a complete reading text of Ernest Hemingway’s manuscript. . . .Working on it was both a privilege and a responsibility. . . .Readers of this remarkable work will experience the mingled pleasure of revisiting the familiar and discovering the new.”

 


The Law Clerk

| Filed under: Fiction
Gerber Book Cover

An explosive novel by a former law clerk to a federal judge, The Law Clerk combines the insider feel of today’s most exciting fiction with insights into one of the most pressing social issues of the day: the impact of pornography. Sam Grimes is heartbroken by a law school romance gone bad. Searching for new horizons, he accepts a prestigious clerkship with a federal judge in Providence, Rhode Island. He quickly finds himself both falling in love with a beautiful young woman he meets at the courthouse and working on the case of the decade in New England: the obscenity trial of Joey Mancini, the son of a Mafia boss. And as Sam is about to find out, one thing has everything to do with the other.

 


Dreaming Baseball

| Filed under: eBook Sale 20, Fiction, Sports, Writing Sports
Baseball Book Cover

Much like author James T. Farrell, Mickey Donovan—the main character in Dreaming Baseball—grew up on the South Side of Chicago dreaming of becoming a star for the White Sox. Donovan’s childhood dream came true in 1919 when he made the team. Despite the fact that he spent most of his rookie season on the bench, it was truly a magical year—until the Black Sox scandal turned it into a nightmare. Farrell’s Donovan speaks, feels, and dreams for all baseball fans in this wonderfully rich novel about our favorite American pastime.

 


A Lost King

| Filed under: Black Squirrel Books, Fiction
A Lost King by Raymond DeCapite. Kent State University Press.

Raymond DeCapite’s second published novel, A Lost King, has been described by Kirkus Reviews as a “small masterpiece, so unique in spirit and style.” If the mood of The Coming of Fabrizze is joyous, that of A Lost King is somber. Each of DeCapite’s novels is original in its own way, perhaps inspired by different moods. Writing in the New York Times in 1961, Orville Prescott described Fabrizze as “an engaging modern folk tale so full of love and laughter and the joy of life that it charmed critics and numerous readers and was generally considered one of the most promising first novels of 1960.” He found DeCapite’s second novel, A Lost King, was a different sort of book than Fabrizze: “Fabrizze is an apologia for heroes; A Lost King is an apologia for dreamers. A more mature book, it deals with a more serious theme—the relationship of a father and son…a pathetic and perhaps tragic conflict of personalities.”

 


The Coming of Fabrizze

| Filed under: Black Squirrel Books, Fiction
The Coming of Fabrizze by Raymond DeCapite. Kent State University Press

First published in 1960, The Coming of Fabrizze has been called by the New York Herald Tribune a “comic folklore festival about an Italian American colony in Cleveland, Ohio, back in the 1920s when all the land was a little slaphappy—and no one more so than these transplanted countrymen of the Medicis, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Christopher Columbus… and others whose hearts have belonged to Italia.” More a myth or a legend than a realistic novel or sociological novel, Fabrizze is a celebration of the working class and a heroic tale of an immigrant who succeeds by virtue of hard work and honesty. Author Raymond DeCapite’s characterizations of Italian Americans in Cleveland have been compared to the depictions of Armenian Americans in the early writing of William Saroyan, and Ann Ross of the New York Herald Tribune said that DeCapite’s “greatest achievement is his ability to achieve tenderness without sentimentality.”

 


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