THE TALISMANS: And Other Stories by Carlos Baker

THE TALISMANS: And Other Stories

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As Everett takes his place in the barber chair, the barber discoursing nonstop on the latest trivia, Everett's mind floats away and alights on two boyhood incidents, suddenly called up in perfect clarity. There may or may not be some special significance to these frozen moments which occur from time to time in this collection of short stories. They may be at best only links to the past or they may in fact be genuine talismans, evoking stronger images, recollections of startling characters. There is, for example, the talented but excessively modest tailor occupying quarters grossly inferior to his skills. Or the cowhand, who was so fastidious that when he decided to commit suicide, he shot himself outdoors so as not to make a mess. The people one meets here though are for the most part a pretty quiet lot--a Latin professor on vacation; a widow concerned about a squirrel trying to nest in her basement; retired folks measuring out their daily routines; a church worker who is so affected by a drowning that she can never return to the lovely but treacherous South Carolina coast, ""where it happened."" Baker is a precise observer and these stories have a kind of leisurely quality as though they were indeed written on vacation and not intended as anything more than transient, occasional reading.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1976
Publisher: Scribners