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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Book Review - Island Fog by John Vanderslice

Book Review
Island Fog
by John Vanderslice

Book Description
Island Fog is a collection of linked short fictions by veteran storyteller John Vanderslice. The eleven stories of Island Fog are connected by both geography and theme. Every story is set on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, and together they span a period of Nantucket history from 1795 to 2005, with four different centuries represented. Some of the characters the reader meets along the way include an 18th century wigmaker accused of a notorious bank robbery, a 19th century "whaling widow" who has newly awakened to important aspects of her sexual nature, a former whale ship captain who once had to resort to cannibalism to survive an extended period at sea, a 20th century plumber whose wife jumped off the Hyannis to Nantucket ferry with her infant child in her arms, and a 21st century ghost tour leader who is being metaphorically haunted by a former lover.

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Our Book Review
A series of short stories around Nantuckett island.  The stories are told over two hundred years starting in 1795.

The style of writing reminds of John Steinbeck and Conan Doyle, very unique and keeps the reader totally enrapt. As you follow the series the descriptive narrative paints an excellent image, the nostalgia involved in some of the tales reminds me of my childhood and as we move through the years, the changes in society and the movement of people it is very poignant. The novelist always leaves a twist to the end of the tale which provokes thought and let's you decide the possible outcome.

The interesting thing I found about this book is as we move through the ages people and their thoughts and morals stay the same even if everything else is changing around them.  The historic and geographically knowledge and research the author has put into their writing has to be commended.

Interesting tales, descriptive characters, excellent places, makes an intriguing and thought provoking read done in a new and refreshing style, which I hope will lead to more stories.  If you like good solid tales built around an interesting place with plenty to think and ponder about this is the author for you.

Our Rating

About the Author
John Vanderslice hails from southern Maryland, specifically the eccentric community of Moyaone, which was developed in the 1950sand 60s by a fearless crew of overeducated, wannabe hippies and anti-social survivalists escaping from Washington DC and its ruthlessly expanding white collar suburbs. After twelve years of Catholic schooling, and too many summers working as a lifeguard, he left the southern Maryland woods to attend the University of Virginia, from which he graduated in 1983. A series of silly jobs, and a flurry of different addresses, in the Washington DC metro area finally led to him entering the MFA in Poetry Writing program at George Mason University in 1986, where he studied under Peter Klappert, William Matthews, and Susan Tichy. He graduated in 1991 and started teaching writing to college freshmen at GMU and Northern Virginia Community College-Annandale. In 1993, he entered the Ph.D program in the English Department at the University of Louisisana-Lafayette, located at the epicenter of the Cajun cultural world. After four years of fine dining, great music, and inspired literary fellowship he moved to Conway, Arkansas, where he began teaching part-time at the University of Central Arkansas while acting as a stay-at-home dad for his infant son. Seventeen years and another son later, he is Associate Professor in the Department of Writing at UCA, teaching fiction writing, poetry writing, and nonfiction writing both to undergraduates and to graduate students in the Arkansas Writers MFA Workshop. He also serves as associate editor of Toad Suck Review magazine.

His household is comprised of his wife Stephanie, his two sons, four cats, and a weird but lovable little dog named Mario who does not seem to understand that they do not need his protection from old ladies and friendly neighbors.

More than seventy of his stories, poems, essays, and one-act plays have appeared in literary journals and anthologies.

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Sharon x

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  1. This sounds like an interesting compilation of unrelated stories all in the same town at different periods in that town's history. I have a feeling that I would enjoy reading this.

  2. This book sounds interesting if you love your American history too.

  3. im not really a book reader but this sounds really interesting, i hope u enjoy reading this

  4. I'm not usually a fan of short stories but this collection interests me!

  5. I absolutely love books that include a little history and have interesting characters. This sounds like a great book!

  6. I always like a good historical fiction. I have only read on John Steinbeck book, but I enjoyed it a lot! So it's good to see something like it out now as well. Nice review :D

    Check out my review and giveaway:

  7. Oh this sounds great! I love the idea of the time period changing so drastically but the location staying the same. Nantucket is an interesting place at any point and I think this would really show that. Thanks for sharing! I hadn't heard of this one but I think I would really enjoy it.

  8. This sounds very interesting and I love that it is stories from the span of 200 yrs. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I have often wondered what living in Nantucket would be like. What a great collection of stories! !

  10. Sounds like a unique read with it telling a story over such a long timespan. I'd love to visit Nantucket island one day!


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