‘Snap, crackle, and pop’
“It’s easy to like the lilt in Martin Golan’s writing: his word choices are crisp and his tone effervescent. The twelve stories in his collection Where Things Are When You Lose Them snap, crackle, and pop in their examination of modern travails. Suburbia is, for the most part, Golan’s milieu, and it’s one he negotiates well. His characters tend to be white and affluent, and the rigors of the working day or making ends meet are not such a concern. Rather, Golan takes on matters of the heart in times of testy human behavior. He uses hefty topics—ranging from sexual etiquette to domestic abuse to the grim specter of assisted living—to catapult his people into their moment of reckoning.
“Golan’s greatest strength shows when the characters talk. He has a fine ear for the way folks express themselves when they’re damaged, or trying to deflect. His dialogue is economic and his use of dialects and teenage slang, which is no easy thing to render and into which he delves several times, is convincing.”
“Mr. Golan has two gifts that relatively few writers have: an ear for the way people really talk (and think). And he can tell a story. As well, he’s smart enough to tell the story that always stands up to the test of time: human relationships. Adult love, lust, and greed. Sometimes in Cheever country, sometimes Carver (his endings, like Raymond Carver’s, are often a twist of reality’s knife, not deep enough to kill, but deep enough to draw noticeable blood). Oh, and he has another gift: he can portray all his characters with equal affection, regardless of age, gender, and their foibles.
Best line: ‘A woman in a pink housecoat looking down from a window decided to light a cigarette.’
This is one of the finest (and most engaging) story collections I’ve read in the past year.”
– Philip Wagner, in The Iconoclast
‘A dozen short but rich literary gems’
‘Surprising and refreshing’
Dan Weil, a Walter Mitty type, living with the fear that his wife has been unfaithful, leaves his family for a little while. A former freelance writer and stay-at-home father, his daydreams and fantasies far exceed his actual toils. “A little while” turns into days, then months, as he reminisces about his life and
relationships and sexual obsession. He halfheartedly builds a new life for himself in a new town, gets a job, and starts dating again, with marginal success. In this story of middle-class misery, Golan uses everyday language to bring Daniel to life, fleshing him out with many unattractive, yet true-to-life qualities. For example, his conversations seem like those one might overhear in a boys a boys’ s locker room, which is surprising in this debut novel, yet somehow refreshing.
– Booklist, the bible of American libraries and the publication of the American Library Association
‘A vast human neediness for romantic love’
Martin Golan writes of contemporary marriage with humor and reckless candor. He voices our marital anxieties, its frustrations, losses and joys. Somewhere between the lies we tell each other and those we tell ourselves, Golan finds a vast human neediness for romantic love.
– Novelist Ken Kalfus, National Book Award finalist
‘Deeply wrought and affecting’
“Martin Golan’s debut story collection Where Things Are When You Lose Them is a precisely written book that shimmers in its humanity. This is no tough-guy read. Golan has crafted deeply wrought and affecting stories that point up the human condition in a way that made this reader look closely, then again, at what is often taken for granted about love: its ultimate rise and fall, that is the core of these twelve enticing stories.”
– Poet and novelist Susan Tepper, multiple Pushcart Prize nominee