The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories


Fiction - Short Story/Novela
142 Pages
Reviewed on 02/17/2021
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Author Biography

David Joseph’s writing has been published in The Wall Street Journal, LA Times, London Magazine, Doubletake Magazine, Motherwell, The Plain Dealer, and Rattle. His first collection of fiction, The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories, was awarded the 2020 Pinnacle Award for Best Collection of Short Stories. He is a graduate of Hobart College and the University of Southern California’s Graduate Writing Program, where he was a recipient of the Kerr Fellowship and served as editor for the Southern California Anthology. In 2002 he cofounded the nonprofit organization America SCORES LA, and in 2007 he received The John Henry Hobart Fellowship for Ethics and Social Justice. He has taught at Pepperdine University and Harvard University. In 2019 he was awarded a position on the Fulbright Specialist Roster.

“I was inspired to write this book by my time spent living on the Iberian Peninsula, by being immersed in new places, new cultures, and new people while still being tied by the things that makes all of us, well...human. The book, while fiction, was born out of the manner in which my senses were reawakened by a change of scenery and perspective.”

    Book Review

Reviewed by Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite

In this collection of short stories, prepare to be immersed in the day-to-day activities of some charming characters from different walks of life. David Joseph combines several romantic and dreamy themes in The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories: boat rides, art galleries, restaurants, taxi rides, bullfighting, bartending, and more. A Good Listener portrays a bartender who listens to a disheartening confession by one of his customers. The Girl At The Chocolate Shop shows how a girl's smile disappears when she's faced with a life-changing situation, which she hides from the world. The Jeweler's Hand depicts a young character's fascination with jewelers. The fourteen short stories, which are mostly set in Spain, depict the pain, love, joy, fear, and hope felt by the realistic characters.

The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories took my breath away and seemed to slow time and my heartbeat in a pleasing, soothing manner. If you love stories that make you feel present in them, you would love this remarkable collection of short stories by David Joseph. I had to bookmark several lines I found dazzling and poetic sentences: "I was happy to feel hopeless, to feel my heart inside my chest, to feel the blood cut off from my brain in such a primal way." The characters are quite perceptive and have some unique personalities that leave a strong impression and may either remind you of yourself or someone you know. An example is how a character prefers good lighting to space in his apartment. All in all, I enjoyed every page and would be thrilled to give it another read.