By George B. Kauffman
Fog and Other Stories by Laury A. Egan, Humanist Press, 1777 T St. NW, Washington, DC, 2013, $13.95. ISBN 978-0-931779-43-2
The author of The Outcast Oracle presents a mixed-genre collection of 23 provocative stories that deal with the metaphorical concept of fog as a state produced by grief, mental illness, love, anger, religious fanaticism, dementia, pain, prejudice or dreams and how the human being refracts reality through these diffused prisms. The protagonists struggle with physical and psychological distortions leading them down problematic paths, due either to jealousy or desire in the case of lovers or hypothermia experienced by a fallen mountain climber.
The book was shortlisted for the prestigious U.K. Saboteur prize. The plots of these stories are simple and basic and as deep as feelings of hate and love can be. In plot, style and characterization they show a deep understanding of human nature.
The titles of the stories are 1) Jango Jacks; 2) No Outlet, Dead End; 3) Payback; 4) Grannie Annie and the Kid; 5) The Scapegoat; 6) Joe; 7) Tiki Bar; 8) Cecilia’s New Shoes; 9) Split; 10) Orbits; 11) Regret; 12) Folie a Trois; 13) Fissure; 14) I Really Can’t Say; 15) The Man Who Wandered In; 16) Second Sight; 17) Otis and Lovey; 18) Fergus; 19) Fog; 20) Le Caprice; 21) The Mime; 22) Intermezzo; and 23) The Climber.
Egan’s fiction and poetry has appeared in more than 35 literary journals and anthologies and has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Web and Best of the Net. A story was a finalist for the Glass Woman Prize and another was a finalist in their Ghost Story contest. She lives on the coast of New Jersey.
George B. Kauffman, Ph.D., chemistry professor emeritus at Fresno State and a Guggenheim Fellow, is a recipient of the American Chemical Society’s George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education, the Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach and the Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution, and numerous domestic and international honors. In 2002 and 2011, he was appointed a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society, respectively.