by Fred Bubbers

Verdict: Author Fred Bubbers achieves this marvelous and sensuous recall through restraint in detail, not snowing you with them, but picking the most apt symbol for the image or thought he's trying to conjure.

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INDIAN SUMMER AND OTHER STORIES is a series of subtle remembrances, drawn by a deft hand, suggesting the world is at sixes and sevens normally, not on that rare and odd day.

Author Fred Bubbers’ life view is focused on the undramatic act that becomes the crucial tipping point—the unperceived or unannounced moment of truth. He sees what is newsworthy beyond the newspaper headline and lead paragraph of life’s stories and draws his conclusions from paragraphs farther down in the article. You won’t always be clear on what happens in these yarns when they close, but you can rest assured that a thin layer of disappointment covers them all. When you string enough slices of life together, you get a loaf of life that is INDIAN SUMMER. This is not big history; it is small people in history, their own histories, even as the author manages to weave the larger social reality into his text.

The stories are highly evocative of mid-20th century United States and represent something of a special treat for those who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s: the closer proximity to nature for children and the freedom they enjoyed, the schism between generations brought on by the long-hairs and rock and roll, the confused souls who came out of that rupture and the quiet suffering of people on all sides, the somewhat squalid reality to the hippie idyll, the rampant state of divorce, and the sense of freedom mixed with the fear of a country unmoored.

There is a great gap between the young searchers in these stories and the stolid, distant adults confounded by them. Today’s children might even yearn for some of that distance, so much has child-rearing changed. Bubbers achieves this marvelous and sensuous recall through restraint in detail; he picks the most concise and apt symbol for the image or thought he’s trying to conjure.

Chief among these stories, though far from exclusive, are astute observations about couples—romantic couplings—in states of inexorable decline. The dialogue in these stories is tense, double-edged, open-ended, querying, anything but secure and warm in a way that would soothe the speakers. These lovers often know they’re on sinking ships. They just don’t know what to do about it. Something has gone wrong either in the past or in the moment, or nothing is wrong at all, save for the fragile nature of love and affection.

Sometimes you get food for thought. INDIAN SUMMER gives you thought for food.

~Stephen Siciliano for IndieReader


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