This collection of short stories is Bruce Macharts second book, following the success of his novel The Wake Of Forgiveness. Men In The Making is a gem comprised of short stories that are rough-and-tumble and not for the faint of heart. Most of the stories have been published previously in prominent publications.
The 10 stories have at their heart the many different ways men come to manhood. The main characters are unsurprisingly male. The settings are in the American South, mostly Texas. Macharts descriptions take the reader to the hot, damp heat of summer or to quiet hum of a hospital ward where the screams of the patients take away your breath. His words bring readers into the stories and whisper, You are here.
The male characters are blue-collar workers, and most are having a hard time getting by. One character worked on an oil rig, one is working at a lumber mill and yet another is a traveling salesman. Jobs are important because most men are measured by what they do for a living. There are no high-powered administrators on these pages.
The women portrayed by Machart are not faring much better than the men. A lot of the women leave their men and their children. The children are uniformly male and suffer many of the same woes as the adults. The world is not cheery and light. There is loss, tribulation and love going on in these stories.
Machart skillfully weaves within each story a folding of time. The plot does not go along the straight and narrow, but allows readers to glimpse how the characters life has reached this point and situation. Machart is a gifted storyteller with an eye for detail and subtle, hidden emotions. Most men will find this fascinating reading. Women might do well to read it, too.
A dynamic speaker, Machart tells his stories with the same passion and grit that make his writing so compelling. His appearance in Durango is a special treat and one thats not to be missed.
Freelance reviewer Leslie Doran may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.