Pages: 184 Size: 5.5x8.5
Jack Driscoll's insight into 'the complex repertoire of human grief' and his empathy for characters confronted with 'the debris of human misery' is singular.
— Barry Lopez
In The World of a Few Minutes Ago, award-winning author Jack Driscoll renders ten stories from the point of view of characters aged fourteen to seventy-seven with a consistently deep understanding of each character's internal world and emotional struggles. All of the stories are set against the quiet, powerful northern Michigan landscape and share a sense of longing, amplified by the beautiful but often unforgiving surroundings. With keen attention to the nuances of his characters and their lives, Driscoll explores both their attachments to the past and their as-yet-unseen futures as he considers relationships between loves, old friends, and parents and their children.
A twelve-year-old boy accompanies his father on a secret run to the slaughterhouse where he recently lost his job. A middle-aged divorcé waits to witness the execution of the man who murdered his daughter decades earlier. A seventy-seven-year-old man reassesses both his fifty-year marriage and his career as an AP war photographer. A sixteen-year-old girl drives through a snowstorm in a clandestine meeting with her driver's education instructor. A twentysomething couple breaks into houses to ignite the passion in their relationship. Each story is carefully crafted and lovingly delivered, as characters weigh their own feelings against their complicated perceptions of other people and the action swirling around them. Driscoll's Michigan shapes these people as surely as their grief and joy, as the setting often becomes a physical touchstone to which characters turn to navigate the immensity of the unknown universe.
Few authors have the flexibility of voice and the emotional range and depth of Driscoll, who is at his best in this collection. Readers of fiction will enjoy The World of A Few Minutes Ago.
Jack Driscoll is Michigan's national treasure, our state secret and seer, who knows everything about us, our stars aglitter like. . . flecks of mica above our stale marriages and illusions of our own toughness, our wild women and our men carefully backing away from them, our lost or flown children, our broken hearts and homophobia, our snows, barrooms, and secretive waterways, our underachievers of every description. Thank God we have a new collection from Driscoll to ponder in these hard times or how we would we know ourselves? His ruthless honesty, as always, is a comfort.
– Jaimy Gordon
Jack Driscoll's insight into 'the complex repertoire of human grief' and his empathy for characters confronted with 'the debris of human misery' is singular. We encounter many of his characters-skittish and sometimes feeling forsaken-looking back over the trail of their lives and trying to plan a workable future in the wake of some kind of bad accident. Strung out as they are between desire and despair, they have in Driscoll their deft and savvy guardian.
– Barry Lopez
Reading Jack Driscoll's The World a Few Minutes Ago feels like a trip through a museum of portraits, each story a finely observed and carefully rendered life as distilled in a telling moment. This writer knows not only what makes people tick, but how to turn the reader's eye to the most salient and stirring instant of recognition.
– Antonya Nelson, author of Nothing Right
Jack Driscoll has long been one of this country's best short story writers, and this book confirms it. Each enthralling story in The World of a Few Minutes Ago is filled with lyrical energy and vivid insight. A marvelous, show-stopping performance.
– Brady Udall
The ten stories sometimes repeat themes-male friendships, low paying jobs, and tender older marriages. Each tale is engaging: Within a loving relationship, the manic wife gets the couple into trouble searching for ever more daring items to steal. A whistleblower slaughterhouse worker must leave town with his family. A macho older hunter, foolishly without a safety harness, falls from his blind and macho older hunter, foolishly without a safety harness, falls from his blind and relives his cruelty to his homosexual son. And as part of a 70-year-old couple, a wife suffers from Alzheimer's while her husband remembers his infidelities as a photojournalist covering wars and executions. The exact locations in Michigan (only a few are mentioned: Grand Forks, Carp Lake, Sault Sainte Marie, Grayling) are not important. Rather, it is Michigan as a whole that Driscoll knows.
– Olive Mullet, New Pages Book Reviews
2012 Michigan Notable Book Awards - Result: 1 of 20 selected annually.
2013 Society of Midland Authors Competition - Result: Winner in the Adult Fiction category.
2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards - Result: Finalist in the General Fiction category
2013 ForeWord Book of the Year Award - Result: finalist in the category of Short Stories