THE COLLECTOR OF NAMES
Book Topics
Patrick Hicks
Short Stories
Moments of crisis
Robert Olen Butler
Power of love
Mortality
Bruce Weigl
Tragedy
Humanity
Brian Turner
Inspirational
Perseverance of human spirit
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THE COLLECTOR OF NAMES : Stories by Patrick Hicks

In his debut short story collection, poet and novelist Patrick Hicks reminds us of one such constant in all our lives-death. In these stories, most of which are set firmly in the heart of the country, the characters, all solid, well-meaning, hardworking people, are beset by tragedies both large and small, natural and unnatural. In the opening piece, "57 Gatwick," which won the 2012 Glimmer Train Emerging Writer Fiction award, a terrorist bombing of a commercial airliner over the city of Duluth, Minnesota gives the town coroner a new task beyond the collection and identification of victims' bodies, thus restoring hope to a shattered community. In "Burn Unit," a lone, misanthropic woman who rescues stray and abused animals, in turn rescues her horribly burned niece from a neglectful family and a life of despair. An unpopular teenage girl discovers a hidden talent in the wake of a devastating storm in "Picasso and the Tornado." In the "The Lazarus Bomb," the crew of a B-17 bomber crew flying missions over Germany in WWII is suddenly imbued with the ability to give life rather than rain death. With gentle humor and deft, lyrical prose, this collection demonstrates that, despite these tragedies, unlooked-for miracles do occur.

Links to reviews

Colorado Review
Book Topics
Patrick Hicks
Short Stories
Moments of crisis
Robert Olen Butler
Power of love
Mortality
Bruce Weigl
Tragedy
Humanity
Brian Turner
Inspirational
Perseverance of human spirit

Reviews and Comments

  • "Patrick Hicks has written a wonderful collection of stories that linger in the mind. Though these magical fables about loss and grief include visitations from the dead, a bombardier who restores life rather than destroys it, a flirtation with necrophilia, and a horrific airline disaster, among other extraordinary or tragic events, what's most amazing is that Hicks has transformed such disquieting situations into a haunting book about the ordinary terrors of mortality, lives 'dictated by random circumstances, by dumb stupid luck, and by strange collisions.' It's powerful work that deserves wide attention and many accolades."
    author of So Bravely Vegetative and Rumors from the Lost World
  • "From a horrific airplane crash to a database cataloguing the bright and human store of a life, the stories in Patrick Hicks's The Collector of Names shimmer with a deep and abiding reverence for all who fix their gaze on that most elemental of walls: death. And despite moments of great pain, suffering, and loss, there is a remarkable sweetness to this collection, a deeply hewn love for the people who live within these pages, within the world of this book, a world that serves as an extension of our own. As I finished reading The Collector of Names, I realized-as one of the characters does early on in the collection-that "the fiber of my heart has been rebuilt." A mature hand is in the wheelhouse of these extraordinary stories."
    author of Here, Bullet and My Life as a Foreign Country
  • "In the title story of this collection, a young boy refuses to erase the bullies from a record of people he has met in his life. In Patrick Hicks' vision, death is the ultimate bully. These extraordinary stories look violence and pain in the eye, wonder how they might be erased-and then leave them, to deftly reveal, as if by magic, the restorative power of human love."
    author of The Work of Wolves and Twisted Tree
  • "The immediacy and urgency of the depiction of crisis moments make these stories magnetic... More than simply cataloging or describing these confrontations with death or loss, this collection offers readers hope ... [with] tales that are, overall, so compelling and inspiring."