Monday, December 1, 2008

A Pig in the Rumble Seat and other short stories

 

Edward Hujsak
Mina-Helwig Publishing (2008)
ISBN 9781886133105
Reviewed by Richard R Blake for Reader Views (10/08)

 

Edward Hujsak has assembled an amazing collection of stories from his own life as well as a broad range of tales of the 1930s depression era in his book "A Pig in the Rumble Seat." His short stories showcase his highly imaginative creative side. He is laugh-out-loud funny, highly intelligent, and a skillful writer. These attributes came through in his stories, "Escape" and "The Toy."  I especially enjoyed his insights into human nature in "Tatiana." I was not ready for the unexpected surprised ending in "The Sub."
 
Set in the Northeast in New England and in the Southwest in San Diego, Hujsak has included well-crafted personal experiences from his engineering career in the field of rocketry. His specialty was in propulsion. He has also included a wide range of subject matter, and varied writing styles. His writing includes science fiction, poetry, and parody. As a gifted story teller, Hujsak has taken time to hone his skill in the art and craft of writing.
 
The book is a melding of memories I could identify with: the ice truck with the ice tongs, and the old kitchen ice box, the quick war-time marriages, and the off-key choirs of aging men and women singing their hearts out during Sunday worship.
 
I found the first-person accounts of life on the farm especially enjoyable, "The Still," The Ubiquitous Fordson Tractor," and "Trucks." The ongoing effort of Pa trying to appease Ma was humorous and so true of most marriages. I was very touched with the account of Carl in "The Parting." "A Pig in the Rumble Seat" highlights Hujsak's subtle humor and genius for using word pictures that enhance the reader's visualization of every detail of the each incident in the story.
 
Hujsak's poetry is well worth pondering, beautiful, contemplative thoughts on nature, the Cuban Missle Crisis, the results of applied force, and the promise of life. His care for details in his fictional pieces and his use of regional and ethnic dialects in his dialog add realism to his stories.
 
I was awed by the photos included of the Tiger team, standing in front of Atlas with the first Centaur upper stage and the liftoff of Atlas Model "E" from Vandenberg Air Force Base and found the accounts of this era filled with interesting facts new to me.
 
Articulate and brilliant, Hujsak is a natural communicator with a gift for telling stories that keep you "listening" or in this case reading. "A Pig in the Rumble Seat" is excellent entertainment, refreshing, and skillfully packed with a balance of information and story.