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Banjo and Other Encounters:
A collection of short stories
Author: Lincoln Denali
Genre: Short Stories

Registry #: shs001


Lincoln Denali made a life-long journey to seek a place of comfort for his mind. It did not come until his forty-fifth year, in front of an old L.C. Smith/Corona typewriter beaten into the ground by at least three other writers. And, little did he realize, also subject to their grafted punishment. Then and there, with his eye for detail, Lincoln Denali begins to spin his years into words

All the places that had come and gone in his travels, he realizes, fade like descriptions measured out in a book long since put down. His journeys therefore center on not where he went on this earth, but on whom he met in the far corners of his travels. And he tries to discern what was quietly remarkable about many of them, despite what he came to fear was lurking in the dark lobules of their brains.

The resolve that brought some of these people above their troubles, or somehow salvaged their lives for no more than a day at a time, is what he vividly recalls. Many of them, beset by self-induced problems or the chance of strange birthrights, deformities, mental and physical shortcomings, bring into play Denali's penchant for people watching. That he can love a harmless drunk for the innate good soul that he is, or a deformed, dwarfish bundle of energy bent on revenge and the sweetest of justices, is a gift this writer revels in.

We meet Banjo, the near-dwarf, bent on revenge against his whole family; Slink the 'unreformable' drunk who would not and could not steal a penny from the small newsboy; and Jack Winters, the warred-upon and beaten man in the house at the corner: "If there's a piece of light left in his brain, a shadow of his old face, a grimace or a grin or one wild look from the monster John Barleycorn he carried as baggage, if you've found something in the air about him that sets him so much apart from everybody else hereabouts, I can understand. He's odd, we know, but also he's hurt no one, even in his bad dreams, when he's being chased or the little folk sit in his shadows cool as embers left over from a bad night."

Lincoln Denali has not invented these characters, he just rehearses them for his readers.


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