In Arizona, where the sun beats down 300 days a year, boys are on their way to becoming men.
This debut collection from award-winning short story writer Gregory D. Williams takes us back to the 1970s, a bygone era when parents didn’t always know what their children were up to and pre-teen boys were becoming men. In stories about growing up in the dry heat of Arizona, a Little League player learns that it’s hard to comfort a grieving friend, especially when she’s a girl. In another story, two friends stake out the house of a neighborhood bully and play a role in a deadly accident. These adolescent boys see moral compromise—and their roles as husbands, fathers, and breadwinners—shimmering like a mirage on the horizon.
Soon, the innocence of childhood recedes into the past. Grown-up life begins. During a practicum on breast-and-rectal exams, an overlooked lump on a sexy partner leaves a medical student shaken. Another doctor learns that the distance between pain relief and addition is shorter than he ever imagined. And a man propositioned at a local Starbucks discovers that even in middle age, the dry heat of love still burns.
In stories about life’s final decades, a widower, busted at a greyhound park, tells a lie to escape arrest; an elderly man shrinks from his wife’s reminders about his health; and a fisherman is startled by the appearance of a talking trout. In all these stories the boy is fully alive inside the man.
If you like classic American writing that has the authentic feel of your favorite jeans, then you’ll love the nine funny, wise, and humane short stories in this collection. Buy A Dry Heat today.
***For fans of William Trevor, Alice Munro, Tobias Wolff, Charles Baxter, Ron Carlson, Joy Williams, and Tim O’Brien.