"God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.”
James M. Barrie, speech (1922)
In Sonata Facile, an adolescent is introduced into a world of art and
beauty by a pedophile. In Anatole and the Pigeon, a Korean veteran
relives the horror of war, while dissecting the cortex of a pigeon in a
dental school physiology lab. The Arrangement deals with a
middle-aged man suffering from MS, who is in conflict with his wife. The
Telegram is the strange odyssey of a war-weary medic recalled from Korea
to be with his dying mother. An Apple for Kiyoshi draws the reader
into the personal hell of a ten-year old Japanese girl after her home has
been incinerated by American bombers. Saturday Lunch, the title
story, portrays the stormy, seventy-year friendship of three doctors from
the Ironbound section of Newark.
These are among the seventeen stories Richard Karlen has written that are
guaranteed not only to entertain but to move the reader to reflect upon
one’s own personal existence.