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Wanderers: Stories by Edward Belfar

WANDERERS is a book of short stories that showcases a writer’s skill with words and the fine art of moving a story forward with little waste or compromise.  The words are clever and bright creating a clear image in the mind; I will always be able to conjure up the image of salt and pepper stubble and heads when I think of this particular read.   I also think this is a man’s book and full of manly stories because all of the male characters are caught in a quandary life changing moment or forced into some change to reckon with and there are few resolutions within each story.

The females in the stories were composite women or caricatures even when they were thought to be the main event.    This I found to be disconcerting until I figured out that they were just the boundaries to the theme and made it more cleverly and precisely defined.   It did not matter which continent the women were blamed for everything; stereotypically belittling and angry.  But then again, these were not stories about women, rather men in a transition stage.  It was almost a limbo stage because none of the characters with the exception of two were acting in a forward motion.   I have encountered women who were as mean spirited as some of these characters, and many more who just wander away in search of a different home.

I enjoyed Edward Belfar’s use of words; his good story telling.   I enjoyed that the stories took place in Africa, the USA, and Rome and found myself looking for how the folks were going to move through their environment.  The descriptions were marvelous even when they were about the tired and the old/neglected remnants.  The titles of the books the character’s published made me laugh out loud each and every time.  So many of the words spoke volumes and I enjoyed looking up a few along the way to explore their depth of meaning in that instance.

WANDERERS  took me by surprise as it was not what I was expecting.  It took me a few stories before I began to anticipate the abrupt curb jolt of the endings.   I was very glad when one story continued on later to bear witness to the fact that the fellow was in the same transition as in Rome and still unable to move, even when provided a loving child to guide the way.

My partner is in the middle of a big life change, and I could see how he was moving through this limbo stage, depressed stage, blame stage, and allowing his mind to wander  looking for acceptance of his reality and not finding any doors to open towards change.  I wanted to talk to my counselor friends about whether they had seen this kind of staging in other men in transition.  I found it comforting to understand Wanderers  as fifteen stories about a point of change . I did not find the hope that one moves through this and actually transitions. Stuck and avoidance are ideas that did come to mind.  I did not read this book before going to bed because I found they created a feeling of depression within me and I wanted time to work that energy off.



I would highly recommend the WANDERERS as a fine read.  I just put in a request for another of Edward Belfar’s books at the library because I found his skill in writing admirable, and discovered this to be his first book.


I received a PDF copy of this book from TLC Books  and Stephen F. Austin University Press and I thank them for the opportunity to read and review this book.   The author is offering up a copy to one of my commenters.  I look forward to what you have to say.

If one purchases anything from Amazon  or Powell’s from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket. Thank you.  Donations also welcome.

Would you like to share your thoughts about a book you’re reading or help a fellow wanderer through a transition please contact us at WiseEars.

Related Reading:
The Brevity of Roses
Hannah Coulter
What the Zhang Boys Know
The Paper Garden

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12 Responses to “Wanderers: Stories by Edward Belfar”

  1. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. sounds interesting .. particularly as the stories are set in three countries …

    Thanks for alerting us to Edward Belfar … and I hope you can get another of his books …

    Happy New Year to you – and I hope 2013 is easier … Hilary
    Hilary recently posted..Desiderata …My Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Hi Hilary,
    Thank you for dropping by and reading this review. It is a good read but very different style of story telling. I hope the author will write another book.

    I enjoyed your great post about the poem Desiderata…It was a delightful way to start the New Year, and I hope you are recovered now.

    Yes, let’s enjoy a terrific 2013…

  2. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Patricia –

    “…the fine art of moving a story forward with little waste or compromise.”

    I love a writer who’s clear, concise, and articulate! I’m not sure, however, that I would like what you said about the endings: “It took me a few stories before I began to anticipate the abrupt curb jolt of the endings.

    I will definitely check it out!
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted..Vastly Different from being Freshly PressedMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    The author used lots of meaning FULL words and that was exciting for me to read – I did not feel dumbed down and maybe that same feeling is what gave the endings such an abrupt edge – I found my mind figuring out resolutions and forward movement – for several nights it kept me awake – I think there was some intentionality in this process and I do believe that this is how many men work on their problems….or changes. They just ignore or avoid moving on and call a halt – frustrating to those around them.

  3. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia,
    Well this certainly sounds interesting. Forward movement eludes the best of us at times. Uncertainty and doubt have a lot of power if you give it to ’em.
    Another great review – gosh you are almost always giving me another addition to my ever-expanding list of must reads!
    suzen recently posted..Alkaline Foods for Vibrant HealthMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    It was a good read and I enjoyed it very much, but it took me a few stories to catch the rhythm and then a few days to figure out the women in the stories.

    Yes, forward movement is often hard to come by…why just this morning the comforter was so cozy and the floor so very cold…it was way hard to move at all!

    Thanks for you kind words

  4. Sara Says:

    It’s a book I may have to check out. I’m not sure I liked the fact you had to put it down before going to bed. I usually do most of my reading right before I go to sleep, but I do enjoy good writers.

    Anyway, as always I appreciate your review:~)
    Sara recently posted..Florida SnowbirdsMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Fabulous writing kind of like the piano teacher taking lessons to improve…I liked looking up the deeper words and filling in the meaning.

    I think after 30 years of counseling, I could not read they book before sleep because I was trying to assist the characters in resolving their issues and moving forward…which was the whole point of the story – they could not…find relief or release. I am just such a helper !

  5. Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours Says:

    I’m not how I’d feel about being left with the feeling that these men are stuck in their transitions, but the skill of the author in conveying that type of existence so forcefully is admirable!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

    patricia Reply:

    Heather J,
    It was my pleasure to read and enjoy this book. The author has some strong skills.

    I never want to leave anyone stuck so that was a bit of a problem for me too

  6. Galen Pearl Says:

    I am starting the year with a stack of new books to read–what fun! I just did some catching up on your blog. Really liked your last post about change. Hope your new year is off to a great start.

    Patricia Reply:

    Thank you for dropping in Galen
    I am glad you stocked up on some reading material and wandered through the blog – thank you.
    New Year is off to a different start and I haven’t found my word yet….several are saying “pick me!” I just want one

    I enjoyed writing the post on change very much and it pulled a number of ideas together for me. Glad you liked it Thank you