Ben Stoltzfus

Stoltzfus - Cover - 9781681144542-Perfect - Final

Falling and Other Stories: (Softcover: $20, 122pp, 6X9”: ISBN: 978-1-68114-454-2; Hardcover: $35: ISBN: 978-1-68114-455-9; EBook: $2.99: ISBN: 978-1-68114-456-6; LCCN: 2018907591; Fiction—Short Stories (single author); Edited by: Claire Adler; Release: October 1, 2018; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): a novella and six short fictions, is by turn mythic and realistic, moving and wistful, innovative and traditional. It maps a wide geography of human emotions: lust, adventure, love, alienation, explicit violence and implicit passion. Ben Stoltzfus makes each character—a glamour girl, a scuba queen, a shaman, a mountain climber, a skier, a ball-court superstar, women in distress, even strangers—come vividly alive. In “Falling” you, the narrator, climb toward the summit with Juan, your friend, following flashbacks in the narrative trail. In “The Bank”, a father and son come to terms with a lifetime of estrangement. In “Glamour Girl”, a woman reminisces about her husbands, rich people, Joe Louis and happy days in the spotlight. In “Scuba Queen”, two college friends, now in their thirties, dive for abalone in the kelp beds of the Pacific Ocean where their rivalry begets a dangerous and miraculous denoument. “Masks and Bergamasks” is a love monologue, a silent conversation between a teacher and a student during a lecture on French Symbolist poetry. In “Samantha’s Choice”, three friends debate free will versus determinism, and are caught in an avalanche while skiing Mount Washington. In “The Games of Chichén Itzà”, a shaman dreams Mayan life and ritual into a dramatic ball-court encounter between two teams; the play of the gods is re-enacted as struggle, blood-sacrifice and renewal. Subtly honed with hallmark precision and keen insight this wide-ranging collection exemplifies the best in narrative art.

“The range of narrative styles and settings, both spatial and temporal make these stories exceptionally intriguing and appealing. The variety of voices, male, female, young, old, contemporary, or past, is particularly remarkable and skillfully executed. Stoltzfus writes with evident knowledge—of flora, fauna, sport, literature, and, most importantly, human relationships—and a painterly attention to detail that fuse these tales into an assemblage that is bound to delight, engage, and even instruct the reader.” —Necessary Fiction, Roch C. Smith

“The literal ascents and descents mirror the breathless highs and lows of the characters, sometimes soaring and sometimes dropping like adult versions of Icarus in all his mythic complexity: passionate, willful, innocent, stubborn, adventurous, short-sighted. The momentum can be dizzying but the themes and images that appear and recur in the novella and the stories unite all of these disparate characters in their common humanity.” —Diane Goodman, January-February 2020, American Book Review

*2018 Pushcart Prize Nominee

Ben Stoltzfus is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. He is a novelist, translator, literary critic and internationally recognized inter-arts scholar. He has published 12 monographs of literary criticism, five novels and one collection of short stories. Romoland, a pictonovel, his most recent publication, was written in collaboration with Judith Palmer, the artist. He has received many awards: Fulbright, Camargo, Gradiva, Humanities, Creative Arts, and MLA. Stoltzfus lives in Riverside, California, with Judith Palmer, his wife.

Praise for Ben Stoltzfus’s novels:

The Eye of the Needle, a tour de force of the French form.” —Richard Rhodes, NY Times Book Review

“As a work of art, this novel is superior!” —London Telegraph

“Black Lazarus is a remarkably original and powerful book.” —Rochelle Owens

Red White & Blue is an open, adventurous, ludic text… an excellent ‘read,’ all that is most enjoyable in the postmodern enterprise.” —Raylene Ramsay, New Novel Review

“At once striking and revelatory… Valley of Roses bursts forth in combination of poetic style, metaphoric profusion, and elegiac tone… a fine novel.” —Erik Nakjavani, International Fiction Review

“Stoltzfus blends the traditional and metafictional tendencies so successfully that each of his stories can be read as a narration of fiction. Such narrative counterpoint makes Cat O’Nine Tails an exceptionally accessible work of post-modern short fiction.” —Roch C. Smith, American Book Review

“Stoltzfus envelops the reader in captivating, constantly-surprising language, while propelling his stories toward unpredictable endings. He is a master of taking simple situations and transforming them into moments of tension and revelation. Reading Falling and Other Stories was a continuous delight.” —Carlos Cortés, author of Rose Hill and Last Quarter

“Romoland is a delightful work in which received ideas about the separate domains of masculine and feminine, inner and outer, line and mass, visual and narrative art, ruler and ruled, master and servant are playfully and seriously inverted to reveal that our unconscious sexual coding of space, time and form is coming undone.” —Juliet Flower MacCannell, author of The Hysteric’s Guide to the Future Female Subject


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