The-Boy-Who-Walked-to-Distant-Lands

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The Boy Who Walked to Distant Lands

by Zane Kotker

In this collection of eleven stories Zane Kotker gives us a set of unrelated characters caught in apparently inescapable situations or at some moment of discovery at home or abroad. We hear their disparate voices at various spots along the lifespan: Cast off by her lover, a woman seeks to outwit her loneliness with a trip to Guatemala. A Brooklyn boy teaches himself Arabic and grows up to be a very unorthodox rabbi who gives up truth for beauty. Caught up in the deaths of their mothers, two old friends face the darkness of a summer night together. Determined to prove his dour father wrong, a young Moroccan with a green card sets out to become a businessman. And more: An escapee from Manhattan spends her days on Connecticut’s Gold Coast teaching second grade and her nights with a fellow renter across the hall. A mother and her seven year old daughter face the question of good and evil as they play Good Guys and Bad Guys in a deserted Manhattan playground. Despite the mental charms he tries to employ, an older man can’t stop obsessing as he waits for the result of his CT scan. Two young pregnant women—one Iraqi and one American—have reason to fear for the lives they carry within. Grieving for his wife and son, an older man is cheered by the young delegates to a conference in southern Spain. The wife of a severely crippled man comes to understand the Declaration of Independence in a new way: “It’s only the pursuit we’re guaranteed, not the happiness.” Of these stories the novelist Rosellen Brown says; “So smart, so rich with knowledge and full of feeling.”