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Colour collage montage of rows of houses, LAKE EFFECT DAYS PHILIP SULTZ in brown font on white top banner.

Lake Effect Days

Brief Stories

By (author) Philip Sultz


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  • Lake Effect Days is a powerful literary debut by Philip Sultz (born 1930), hitherto best known as a visual art artist
  • This cycle of very short stories about a group of young men in postwar Buffalo is told with absolute mastery, recalling both the folksy humour of Mark Twain and the wit and pathos of the Yiddish storytellers
  • Colour illustrations - the writer's own collages - add to the powerful evocation of time and place
  • Appeals to multiple audiences: a senior audience, a Buffalo audience, a Jewish audience, a flash fiction audience - and this paperback edition will make it even more accessible
  • Sultz is a native son of Buffalo, and these (fictionalised) stories are drawn from his days as a student at the Albright Art School
  • The hardcover edition of Lake Effect Days was highly praised in the author's hometown media (Buffalo and Maine) and by his fellow writers-two-time National Book Award finalist Stephen Dixon said that Sultz is "among the very best contemporary writers I know of."
Full Description

This critically acclaimed collection of very short stories about postwar Buffalo, New York – illustrated in colour with the author’s own collages – is now available in paperback.

It all began in Buffalo between World War II and the Korean Conflict, as it was called, when the guys would meet up late at night in a diner for their brand of fellowship. They were mostly high school graduates in their late teens and early twenties, the sons of immigrant families. It didn’t matter; there was little trace of that showing. They didn’t look or act alike, but they had a sense of who they were, sort of proud for some reason, without much to show for it. From the introduction, at the centre of the group was Arnie. He might have been selling real estate for the time being, but he always had his eye on the next thing – Christmas tree farming, perhaps, or uranium mining. Then there were Moe, who had a gas station and garage, and Barney, who drove a truck for Pop’s Pies. Observing it all was an art student working odd jobs to afford his paints and brushes – Phil. In 110 vignettes about Arnie and the guys, Philip Sultz presents a fictionalised portrait of the working-class Buffalo of his youth. He also vividly sketches the downtown Manhattan of those days, where his protagonists are drawn to study and to work. These stories – by turns funny and poignant, perfectly told and full of telling details – evoke not only the life of two cities, but the atmosphere of postwar America. Even in shadow of McCarthyism and the atom bomb, it was a time emblematic of possibility and change. Lake Effect Days is illustrated with colour reproductions of Sultz’s critically acclaimed collages, which echo the text in their formal perfection and add new layers of allusion.

About the Author
Philip Sultz was born in Buffalo, New York, and began his artistic studies at the Albright Art School there in 1949. Sultz is professor emeritus of art at Webster University in St. Louis, and his visual work was represented for over three decades by Allan Stone Gallery in New York. He was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and has exhibited extensively. Sultz is also an accomplished writer whose poetry and prose have been published in numerous journals, including Fifth Wednesday and the Hopkins Review. He lives in Maine.
Abbeville Press
4th Nov 2020
Paperback / softback
World excluding USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia
216 mm x 140 mm
160 Pages
9 color
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