Ron Carlson’s stories come at us from all directions. Sometimes wicked or bittersweet, often zany, they are rich with a hard-earned hopefulness frequently absent in contemporary fiction. In A Kind of Flying, his generous gathering from collections no longer available, longtime fans and new readers alike can savor the development of a master of idiosyncrasy.
In “Blazo” and other equally poignant tales, men and women are challenged when things don’t work out as expected. Other stories deal with surprising transformations―for a baseball player turned killer-by-accident, for a nineteen-year-old who experiences an unsettling sexual awakening. Here is a man accusing Bigfoot of stealing his wife, followed by Bigfoot’s incomparable response. Not least of the treasures is “The H Street Sledding Record,” a story perfect for family holiday reading, in which a young father “creates” the magic of Santa by throwing manure on his roof on Christmas Eve.