Wednesday, June 21 – Short stories by Don Waters

Wednesday at 2 PM on Bibliocracy Radio (KPFK 90.7 FM) I welcome a writer whose prose immediately, startlingly, confidently sets the scene, with no hesitating and with the full, vivid confidence of both lived memory and careful observation.  Don Waters has a new short story collection out, and its scenes and settings are mostly of the American Southwest — Nevada and Arizona and New Mexico — and the characters who inhabit — or more correctly — emotionally overwhelm, direct and define, his stories are smart, broken, and wounded, but each with a variety of integrity formed out of duty or devotion.  In The Saints of Rattlesnake Mountain, Don Waters tells nine stories of faith tested, of perverse existential judgment, of wisdom built on loss.  We meet a loner surfer who has avoided the responsibility of fatherhood, a prisoner who chooses freedom for others, a gay combat vet whose return home is perhaps worse than his tour in Iraq.  Immediate and urgent, these short stories also tap into deep near-mythic tropes and, at sentence level they suggest a wise, mature guide to finding — or losing — a path in the real and metaphorical deserts where nearly all Waters’ characters wander.  This is a remarkable collection, folks.  Don Waters is the author of the novel Sunland and the award-winning earlier story collection Desert Gothic. I am proud to have been a fan of his since the beginning and am so glad to welcome him back to Bibliocracy.  Thanks for listening, on the radio or online, or as a podcast.