In conversation with Tom Barbash
"For the past twelve years, since his lauded Esther Stories, Peter Orner has been engaged in a strange, quiet, and wonderful experiment...Every story in Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge is excellent, incisive, moving." —Lauren Groff, The New York Times Book Review
"Taken as a whole, as the sum of its parts, this is a stirring and important book, one that will wash over readers and create a sensation similar to that of moving slowly through a museum, encountering masterpiece after masterpiece.” —Skip Horack, San Francisco Chronicle
“Mr. Orner packs remarkable pathos into his condensed dramas.” —Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
“This is an ideal moment to appreciate a master of his form.” —John Williams, New York Times
Peter Orner zeroes in on the strange ways our memories define us: A woman's husband dies before their divorce is finalized; a man runs for governor of Illinois and loses much more than an election; two brothers play beneath the infamous bridge at Chappaquiddick. Employing the masterful compression for which Orner has been widely praised, Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge presents a kaleidoscope of individual lives viewed in startling, intimate close-up. Whether writing of Geraldo Rivera's attempt to reveal the contents of Al Capone's vault or of a father and daughter trying to outrun a hurricane, Orner illuminates universal themes. In stories that span considerable geographic ground--from Chicago to Wyoming, from Massachusetts to the Czech Republic--he writes of the past we can't seem to shake, the losses we can't make up for, and the power of our stories to help us reclaim what we thought was gone forever.
Peter Orner is the author of Esther Stories, The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo, and Love and Shame and Love. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, Granta, McSweeney's, Best American Stories, and other periodicals. Orner has received the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, The Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and two Pushcart Prizes. He teaches at San Francisco State University and lives in Bolinas, California.
"A ravishing collection, full of wisdom, grief, beauty, and especially surprise."--Anthony Doerr, author of The Shell Collectors