An exploration of masculinity through a series of unsentimental stories of American fatherhood.
At the center of each of Mindt’s stories is a father attempting to connect in some way with his children. In the first story, “Sabor a Mí,” a Mexican-American man muses on his children’s assimilation as he hitchhikes to his daughter’s second wedding, telling the driver that he is going to a funeral because his daughter is marrying another woman. Russell, the African-American father in “An Artist at Work,” doesn’t know how to handle his son’s creative ways of dealing with his racial identity. After Anthony burns a cross on the family lawn, for example, Russell breaks into his room and finds oddly beautiful photos that Anthony has taken of the daughter of the local Asian dry cleaner. In “Stories of the Hunt,” Walt betrays his father at a hunting competition in Spokane after the father tells a lie about a catch. The title story, set in West Texas, concerns a Yankee biology teacher who dares to alienate the community, as well as his family, by flunking the captain of the football team. And in “Reception,” a child tries to set up his widower father with a newly divorced neighbor, bringing the two together with forged notes and promises of freshly brewed iced tea.
A universal collection, the author’s debut, that not only paints a full portrait of the Father, but of his country as well.