Book Review: American Morons by Glen Hirshberg

In this follow-up of award winning “The Two Sams”, Hirshberg once again delights readers with a thoughtful collection of skillfully executed short stories that demonstrate his prowess as a writer. The book opens with the title story “American Morons”, a suspense thriller about a couple vacationing abroad. In a cascading effect, they discover themselves in the wrong place at the dubious mercy of strangers as the sun goes down and imaginations find adequate fuel to run wild. Misdeeds of the distant past are redressed in the present in an engrossing tale of religious zeal, persecution and justice in “Like a Lily in a Flood.”

“Flowers on Their Bridles, Hooves in the Air, “Transitway” and “The Muldoon” share a general theme as the lines between the past and present, here and now become blurred, overlapping with surprising, usually melancholy results. Set in present day San Diego, “Safety Clowns” takes the seemingly harmless story of a young man’s first day at work as an ice cream vender and twists it into an unexpected nightmare with potentially lethal consequences for the narrator. “Devil’s Smile” is a classic horror story set towards the end of the whaling days on the storm ridden New England coastline. Lighthouse Service employee Selkirk returns to his hometown where he must turn a widow out of a decrepit lighthouse but not before he learns the full tale of her husband’s disappearance. It is a haunting tale that illustrates Hirshberg’s masterful touch, allowing the imagination to flow in making the impossible, probable. This is a collection to be savored, saved and enjoyed.


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