by Bob Walkenhorst
Softcover, 234 pages
Like the adage about blind men bumping into an elephant, so it is with Bob Walkenhorst's wonderful collection of short stories, “Whirlybird Day.” In the small town of Shorter, MO, the day of the long-awaited community festival proves to be much more than what it appears on the surface. Nine stories introduce to us a hodgepodge of characters that, on this same day, bring very different experiences. It's a clever idea. "Whirlybird Day" is a quick and enjoyable read that captures all the small-town curiosities and quirks. The exciting moments and the mundane. These stories are easy to warm up to with plenty of descriptive charm and emotional curves.
This town is just one of a thousand small towns you might catch in your rearview mirror before realizing you have driven right through it. But big cities don't have a monopoly on big dreams or big ideas. Nor do disappointments or broken hearts hurt any less. There is a pleasant familiarity in the pages. A bit of small-town deja vu, if you will. Nothing is forever. Some relationships, whether with people or towns, are just not destined to last. Some often leave; some never do. It will be interesting to see if Bob Walkenhorst has a full novel hiding somewhere inside.
"January 23–30, 1978" - Steve Forbert / "Jackrabbit Slim" (1979)