DiscoverShort Story

The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories

By

Loved it! 😍

David Joseph's short stories are gentle but vivid depictions of a variety of characters from the Iberian peninsula.

I think that there is an art to writing a good short story as a writer attempts to encapsulate a moment, a situation, a memory, an event and it is essential, in order for the story to be successful, that this is done in a way that is succinct but it cannot shirk on detail. In that, I mean that the description and the emotion and the character must almost be condensed in order for the experience of reading that story to be fulfilling; otherwise, it will fall flat. It does not allow for an author’s meandering nor a sparseness of writing. It is a tight form.


With that explanation in mind, there is no doubt in this reader's mind about how good this collection of stories is.


David Joseph is a commensurate writer of short stories. In this collection, you have a variety of different people in different situations experiencing the many emotions associated with the human condition: a few examples are characters who have finally found love and those still searching out those who they previously loved; people mourning the death of a loved one and people living with the absence of someone still living; men hoping for love and family members sacrificing a bit of themselves to protect their loved ones.


Joseph has a very precise style of writing and he is able in his selection of choice words to pinpoint the essence of his characters, allowing the exploration of their thoughts and musings to provide you with a clear picture of each individual, drawing on their memories to give an insight into their personality, a window on their life. However, he has a particular way of formatting his sentences, that permeates his work, repeating a phrase from the previous sentence, possibly for emphasis, possibly to provide an expansion on that idea, that I sometimes found it difficult to escape his authorial voice.


However, this took nothing away from his storytelling ability, which is strong and adept.


In this book, you get a real sense of the hot days, the history, the culture and the atmosphere of place and in this, Joseph’s writing allows you to immerse yourself in the little worlds that he has carefully created in each story, all of them distinct, all of them a voyeuristic view of a snippet of someone’s existence.


David Joseph’s tales from the Iberian peninsula are a delight.

Reviewed by

I am Rachel and I have a website where, amongst other stuff, I blog about books I've read. I was previously an English teacher so books have always been a big part of my life and I read many genres. I love crafts, especially knitting; travel; my kids (I suppose); and writing.

About the author

David Joseph’s writing has been published in The Wall Street Journal, LA Times, London Magazine, DoubleTake Magazine, and Rattle. A former nonprofit executive, he has also taught at Pepperdine University and Harvard University and was awarded a position on the Fulbright Specialist Roster in 2019.   view profile

Published on March 14, 2021

50000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Short Story

Reviewed by