I enjoyed this collection of short stories by Allen Learst. Learst reminds me about the sacrifices soldiers make and the problems they encounter. Some Vietnam veterans suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Others may experience being homeless and unemployed. These kinds of experiences make me appreciate their sacrifices more.
My favorite story in this book is "Animoosh". I love the unusual title of this story. It sparks my interest to find out what this story is about. Animoosh is an Ojibwa word. It means little dog. Learst is masterful in blending elements of triumph as well as tragedy in this story. This story is about the rescue of a dog and the loss of a young man's life during a fishing trip. This story also makes a reference to kind of fish that I have never eaten before called smelt. I would eat this fish if I ever got the chance to.
"Gondwana" is another interesting story title. It is a reference to a song by Miles Davis. It is a story about a Vietnam vet who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. This story is a direct parallel to the story "Under Ice" because the mother of this soldier suffers from mental illness.
I have an empathy for each character in every story. Learst makes his characters restless and flawed just like real people.There is a young woman searching for her biological father in the story "Take Me To The Gold Monkey". "Shadowboxer"is about a boxer and Vietnam Vet who accidently kills someone in a strip club "Snakes and Dragons" is a story about the son of this boxer who yearns to have a relationship with his father. All of the stories in "Dancing at the Gold Monkey" are very moving.
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