The Straits of Mackinac and Other StoriesBook - 2001
If you like blue-collar fiction with a strong sense of place, you'll enjoy this collection of short stories from Jack Hanford. The author takes us to various locations in his native Michigan, as well as to the rural hills of eastern Kentucky, the seedy underbelly of a Mexican border town and the fleeting opulence of a California desert resort. Along the way he introduces us to lovers, fighters, survivors, scoundrels, veterans, railroaders, ironworkers, bartenders, hookers, taxi drivers and faded Hollywood starlets. These aren't necessarily fancy stories with neat and happy endings. They're straightforward and sometimes gritty tales about people struggling against some of their darker impulses.
The Straits of Mackinac and Other Stories is based largely on the lives of common people - individuals not often heralded in news reports, or chronicled in history books. The stories were written over a period of years - crafted by a professional nonfiction writer who thought he might be able to create a few satisfying pieces of fiction.
"It's up to the reader to judge whether I've been successful," he says.
This book features nine short stories of varying lengths and a minor trilogy within the context of the larger collection. There are rich descriptions of the various settings and much of the action takes place around dialogue. Included is a preface in which the author describes the impetus behind each tale.
Readers will recognize many of the characters in these stories. They're people we've all known during our lives - well-meaning individuals who try to do the right things, but often get distracted and diverted by worldly temptations and excesses of the flesh. Some of us have even been these people from time-to-time during our lives.
One of the stories has been previously published in an anthology featuring emerging Michigan writers. The rest are being shared for the first time.