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ISBN: 978-1-62557-828-0
Categories Fiction, Short Stories

Winter Honeymoon

Publication Date: September 2020


Another title for Jacob Appel’s engrossing new story collection could be what one character calls “a conspiracy of fantasies.” Characters imagine rekindling romances from the distant past, pursue prestigious apprenticeships and dramatic deaths, even attend the funerals of movie stars in order to avoid or infuse meaning into their own ordinary losses and suffering. Appel portrays these characters with such compassion that we willingly join the conspiracies, recognizing ourselves in every effort to understand the sum and value of human lives. These are wise and achingly beautiful stories.

—Chauna Craig

Winter Honeymoon is a remarkable collection, full of Appel’s keen depictions of human interactions in their most intricate subtleties. Many of the stories manage that ever-elusive quality of great short fiction: a novelistic scope miraculously fitted into a handful of pages. And there is the weight of history in all of these stories, of characters who have lives far beyond the glimpses we are given. The prose manages to dazzle throughout as well, though without ever drawing attention to itself. Appel is a genuine stylist is the vein of Salter or Munro, though with flourishes all his own.

—Brad J. Felver

Short stories are normally the territory of literary tricksters like de Maupassant, O. Henry and anyone with an MFA or a sinecure in TV, sleight-of-hand artists know their ending before they begin building a careful scrim to obscure the reveal. Unlike these showbiznicks, Appel starts from one character, one phrase, even one key word and lets his story tell itself, so the author is as much ambushed by the outcome as his awe-struck readers. There is only one word to describe these nine tales of humans trapped within their own humanity: magisterial. No one writes like Jacob Appel.

—Hesh Kestin

Jacob M. Appel’s stories are more than just slices of life; they contain entire worlds. In smart, sharp, penetrating prose he draws the reader into not just the complicated modern lives of his protagonists, but their struggles, hopes, dreams and frustrations. Middle aged men and women dealing with elderly parents, marriages under strain, illnesses, and difficult children form the central conflicts, and are universal in their pathos. Appel manages to make the extraordinary plausible and the poignant humorous. These stories will delight and destroy you; you won’t be able to put them down.

—Allison Amend

From a widow pursuing an old flame to an architect caught in a collapsing relationship, Winter Honeymoon reminds us that life is fleeting but love, in all its forms, is a survivor. These are stories of sometimes quiet, sometimes incredible, and always complex lives that shout at us in their telling. With Jacob Appel’s devilish eye for detail, the stakes grow, the plots turn, and the reader is hit in the head as much as the heart. These are as much affirmations as they are stories, and this is an adventurous and accomplished collection by any measure.

—R. Dean Johnson

About the Author

Jacob M. Appel

Jacob M. Appel is a physician, attorney and bioethicist based in New York City.   He is the author of more than two hundred published short stories and is a past winner of the Boston Review Short Fiction Competition, the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Award for the Short Story, the Dana Award, the Arts & Letters Prize for Fiction, the North American Review’s Kurt Vonnegut Prize, the Missouri Review’s Editor’s Prize, the Sycamore Review’s Wabash Prize, the Briar Cliff Review’s Short Fiction Prize, the H. E. Francis Prize, the New Millennium Writings Fiction Award in four different years, an Elizabeth George Fellowship and a Sherwood Anderson Foundation Writers Grant.   His stories have been short-listed for the O. Henry Award, Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Best American Mystery Stories, and the Pushcart Prize anthology on numerous occasions.   His first novel, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, won the Dundee International Book Prize in 2012.  Jacob holds graduate degrees from Brown University, Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Harvard Law School, New York University’s MFA program in fiction and Albany Medical College’s Alden March Institute of Bioethics.  He taught for many years at Brown University and currently teaches at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

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