Heart rending stories of life and death a debut fiction collection by the award winning author of The UndertakingA Methodist minister gone astray, a grieving trout bum gone fishing with his father s remains, an artist overwhelmed by incarnate beauty these are just a few of the iconic yet utterly unique characters in Thomas Lynch s spirited collection Set in Michigan s north woods, in Ohio s interior, on islands, in casinos, and in distant cities, these stories are linked by the gone and not forgotten former spouses, dead parents, and missing children In pursuit of love and its redemptions, these are pilgrims haunted by memory, dogged by desire, made radiant by romance and its denouementsWith the elegant prose of Frederick Busch and the Irish sensibility of William Trevor, Lynch masterfully creates a world where mirage and apparition are commonplace, where people searching for connection and old comforts find them both near at hand and oddly out of reach


10 thoughts on “Apparition & Late Fictions

  1. Lawyer Lawyer says:

    Thomas Lynch has been known for a long time as an eloquent essayist His book, The Undertaking is a breathtaking look at life, death and loss In it he movingly relates the obligation to the dead for the sake of the living Lynch is a mortician, an unlikely occupation for a natural born author He is not the stereotypical undertaker out to sell the bereaved his most expensive model casket during the time of their loss He is a poet And, he has written magnificently on being an Irish American Thomas Lynch has been known for a long time as an eloquent essayist His book, The Undertaking is a breathtaking look at life, death and loss In it he movingly relates the obligation to the dead for the sake of the living Lynch is a mortician, an unlikely occupation for a natural born author He is not the stereotypical undertaker out to sell the bereaved his most expensive model casket during the time of their loss He is a poet And, he has written magnificently on being an Irish American Equally captivating are his short stories Although Bloodsport was a 2001 mystery short story of the year several years back, I had not had the opportunity to read any of Lynch s fiction until he gathered his stories in this anthology This is not a light weight read If you are looking for fluff you will not find it here Lynch s characters do not lead easy lives Things have a way of happening to them that they do not expect And the things that happen are generally for the worse It is how Lynch s characters respond to life s misfortunes that form the core of his stories As all people, some respond better than others The central them in all of the stories is wanting to belong to someone or something Isolation is a recurring situation Lynch s characters find make for a lonely life Each of them might find themselves strolling along with J Alfred Prufrock, wondering whether they should wear their trousers rolled and whether they dared to eat a peach Lynch can write with a gentleness that lulls the reader into a denoument that lands a punch deep into the gut It is safe to think that none of Lynch s characters had lives that turned out as they expected


  2. Lawral Lawral says:

    There are some truly beautiful moments in each story in Apparition Late Fictions, the kind you want to copy out and carry around with you because they are so gorgeously written, even out of context, but the stories themselves didn t quite do it for me Even though they re not related, they all kind of run together with the same setting, same sentiment, almost the same single narrator in each one brooding on their aloneness not that this isn t warrented, this is a book that is all about the af There are some truly beautiful moments in each story in Apparition Late Fictions, the kind you want to copy out and carry around with you because they are so gorgeously written, even out of context, but the stories themselves didn t quite do it for me Even though they re not related, they all kind of run together with the same setting, same sentiment, almost the same single narrator in each one brooding on their aloneness not that this isn t warrented, this is a book that is all about the aftermath of death This is still a relaxing a beautiful read, but the stories will be muchappreciated if they are spaced out and not read all at once


  3. Ellice Ellice says:

    The first three stories in this collection were not for me they all focus on life in therural areas of Michigan, with heavy emphasis on fishing, hunting, and so forth It s not that they weren t good, but they just weren t something I would normally read, and they didn t break out of their Michigan outdoorsy world to particularly catch my interest However, the two last stories novellas, Matinee de Septembre at 47 pages, and Apparition at 89 pages, appealed to me They broke beyond outd The first three stories in this collection were not for me they all focus on life in therural areas of Michigan, with heavy emphasis on fishing, hunting, and so forth It s not that they weren t good, but they just weren t something I would normally read, and they didn t break out of their Michigan outdoorsy world to particularly catch my interest However, the two last stories novellas, Matinee de Septembre at 47 pages, and Apparition at 89 pages, appealed to me They broke beyond outdoorsy genre fiction to literary pieces that were both interesting and moving.Taken all together, this book makes sort of a strange kettle of fish, but there might be readers out there who would enjoy both parts equally


  4. Lauryn Lauryn says:

    There are points and sections of writing that create some beautiful images and can be inspiring However, I wasn t enthralled in most of the stories, hence taking 8 months to read through it His writing style, in this collection at least, is very male centric, even the one short written from the point of view of a woman is very sex focused in a way that doesn t rally fit and it s easy to tell it was written by a man At times, it can be uncomfortable to read and rather objectifying towards wome There are points and sections of writing that create some beautiful images and can be inspiring However, I wasn t enthralled in most of the stories, hence taking 8 months to read through it His writing style, in this collection at least, is very male centric, even the one short written from the point of view of a woman is very sex focused in a way that doesn t rally fit and it s easy to tell it was written by a man At times, it can be uncomfortable to read and rather objectifying towards women, and sometimes I would wonder I d certain passages were needed.While he has some good moments, it s not a book I d pick up to read again


  5. Jonathan Hiskes Jonathan Hiskes says:

    Skip the first three stories and go straight to the last two, great stories set on Mackinac Island, Michigan, and Block Island, Rhode Island, respectively From a woman of the Greatest Generation who spent World War II apart from her husband The young these days are so unhappy, so impatient, so full of expectations All we wanted to was to survive it To be together To get through, Bob and me, you know, and for the children Nowadays they just want too much Whatever they have, they think Skip the first three stories and go straight to the last two, great stories set on Mackinac Island, Michigan, and Block Island, Rhode Island, respectively From a woman of the Greatest Generation who spent World War II apart from her husband The young these days are so unhappy, so impatient, so full of expectations All we wanted to was to survive it To be together To get through, Bob and me, you know, and for the children Nowadays they just want too much Whatever they have, they think there must beThey want so much they don t know what they want


  6. Keith Taylor Keith Taylor says:

    I sometimes think that there is always something in Lynch s writing life that is leading him to fiction, even if he will always be a poet in my mind This is his first book of fiction, and I loved it Here s a little thing I wrote about it for the local paper I sometimes think that there is always something in Lynch s writing life that is leading him to fiction, even if he will always be a poet in my mind This is his first book of fiction, and I loved it Here s a little thing I wrote about it for the local paper


  7. Karen Karen says:

    I enjoyed this book, thought the stories were well written I live in Michigan, so all of the settings were familiar to me, which made the book that muchenjoyable.


  8. Paulette Paulette says:

    The author is a mortician Sostories about life and death Lots of wisdom and feelings.


  9. Genesis Genesis says:

    Only Willing To Catch Apparition Late Fictions A Novella and Stories by Thomas Lynch Published by W.W Norton Company, 2010 Thomas Lynch s collection of short stories in his book Apparition and Late Fictions are examples of Lynch s continuous theme of life and death Along with his knowledge of being a mortician comes the character development that can be found in a full length novel Lynch creates a new world in each story with its own situations and sentiments and yet the reader can r Only Willing To Catch Apparition Late Fictions A Novella and Stories by Thomas Lynch Published by W.W Norton Company, 2010 Thomas Lynch s collection of short stories in his book Apparition and Late Fictions are examples of Lynch s continuous theme of life and death Along with his knowledge of being a mortician comes the character development that can be found in a full length novel Lynch creates a new world in each story with its own situations and sentiments and yet the reader can relate to the characters feelings towards the one they have lost Lynch s use of sensory details also helps the reader envision the scenery throughout the pieces Whether the piece takes place in a local river where a fisherman mourns the loss of his father or in an airplane where a middle aged woman remembers her late husband Lynch is able to keep the reader s interest by using language that is appropriate for each story and by using the setting as a way to bring together the whole aspect of how life and death relate to each other The thermos bottle with his father s ashes in it rested on the front seat of the drift boat Lynch 15.Catch and Release is a story detailing the history of its main character Danny In the story, Danny has taken his father s ashes to the river to go fishing Whether the reader is aware of terminology used in fishing or not, it does not distract the reader that much from the use of rich language present throughout the piece Lynch describes the river through Danny s perception which makes it easy for the reader to understand his relationship with the river and his father He loved the snug hold of the river on his boat, the determination of its current, the certain direction, the quiet 17 The way that Lynch personifies something that was never alive compared to the ashes of a man who was very much alive is something the reader can appreciate throughout the rest of the book, not just the story Lynch then continues his character development in the characters in the stories Bloodsport and Hunter s Moon The helplessness in the characters is what makes the stories believable, relatable, and interesting for the reader One can feel sympathisize for the father in Hunter s Moon , Harold Keehn Harold looks back at his life and thinks about the decisions he made early in his life and the relationship he had with his daughter This situation is something that most people can relate to The continuous wit of Lynch s writing style is what saves the pieces from being boring because these stories all deal with death and some readers may need a mental break Lynch embeds his experiences with death in each story, giving the storiespersonality For example, in Bloodsport there is a mortician who takes care of a father and many years later a young girl with whom he knew briefly The character of Martin isbelievable because of Lynch himself Lynch seems to explore gothic, sentimental, and almost mathematical themes to each story Overall, the book was easy to read and the language was rich


  10. Darin Darin says:

    Thomas Lynch, until now most famous for his award winning The Undertaking, a study of the art of the funerary trade, tries his hand at fiction and mostly succeeds Each of the four short stories and the novella in this collection deal with grief and loss, sometimes due to death, sometimes to the dissolution of a relationship Catch and Release focuses on a fishing guide grieving the death of his father who taught him how to fish on the same waters on which he now plies his trade Bloodsport i Thomas Lynch, until now most famous for his award winning The Undertaking, a study of the art of the funerary trade, tries his hand at fiction and mostly succeeds Each of the four short stories and the novella in this collection deal with grief and loss, sometimes due to death, sometimes to the dissolution of a relationship Catch and Release focuses on a fishing guide grieving the death of his father who taught him how to fish on the same waters on which he now plies his trade Bloodsport is told in flashback by an undertaker who cannot shake his memories of one client s life and death Clearly the research Lynch did for The Undertaking informs this story most of all Hunter s Moon tells the tale of a retired casket salesman who has buried two wives and had another leave him He reminisces on his life, his marriages, his struggles with alcohol and his place in the world Matinee de Septembre is the most page turning among the stories, the story of a professor and poet who decides to vacation on Michigan s Mackinac Island shortly before the Fall semester begins at her university While there she becomes entranced, perhaps obsessed, by a vision of beauty so overwhelming she risks everything in pursuit of it The novella, Apparition , mixes the pathos of the breakup of a minister s marriage with the humorous advice and assistance of a Catholic priest Moving back and forth in time, it investigates the origins of infidelity in the marriage and discovers that while saving grace might be available from sources less than divine, the price paid can result in the complete transformation of a man s spiritual life.Well written, poetic and striking a tone that feels right, Lynch s first foray into fiction is recommended for fans of short fiction and stories of loss and grief