Sometimes one comes across a novel based on an unlikely friendship–either between two people in their late years of life or between two people of different socioeconomic background or between two people of different age groups. Other differences aside, what links the two people is their understanding of each other. The times spent together may be of little duration, but the impact remains for the rest of their lives. Such is the story of Julian and Thomas in Windfall Nights by William Claypool.
The novel opens with Julian and his wife, Anna, in route to Vietnam, where he feels nostalgic for his friend, Thomas. The story flashes back to Julian’s college years, where a car accident forces him to graduate six months after his peers. He lands a part-time job at the Lafayette Hotel as a night bellman, looking to earn some extra cash. What he didn’t expect was that working at Lafayette was more than a blue-collar job; it was an experience he’d never forget. He forges an unlikely friendship with Thomas, the hotel handyman. A university dropout who was once a football star and a talented piano player, Thomas’ life choices are an enigma to Julian. Their times shared together lead to unfolding of the troubled life of Thomas and why he chose to be a handyman. Thomas is present for some of the defining moments of Julian’s life, and Julian later understands what an influence his dear friend will have in the years to come.
The transition between flashbacks to Julian’s life to the present has been penned skillfully, but is rather slow to progress. More moments could easily have been shared between the two leads, making each other’s actions justified. This novel is highly recommended for readers of short stories.
Chris Hayden has been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.
|Page Count||200 pages|
|Publisher||Meadow Lane Press|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|