ALL THAT IS LEFT IS ALL THAT MATTERS, by Mark Slouka, W.W. Norton & Company




A searing, poignantly rendered collection of stories chronicling the lives of ordinary people battling the forces of love and loss, from “one of the great unsung writers of our time” (Colum McCann).

In fifteen beautifully wrought stories—ranging from occupied Czechoslovakia to California’s Central Valley to the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest—Mark Slouka explores moments in life when our back is to the wall. One of the most forceful American writers of his generation, Slouka captures the depth and emotional range of an array of characters—from a young boy attempting to shield his father from painful memories in “The Hare’s Mask” to a lonely man whose beloved dog inexplicably begins to sprout razor blades from her skin in “Dog.”

Whether battling the end of desire, the fact of injustice, or death itself, the men and women in these stories are doing everything possible to tighten their grip on life. In “Crossing,” a father hoping to compensate for his failures finds himself facing his past while fording a river with his young son on his back; in “Conception,” a young couple frozen by the possible end of their marriage is offered an unexpected way back; in “Half-Life,” a proud, aging shut-in finds her resolve tested by an extraordinary visitor determined to shatter her solitude.

Like its title, All That Is Left Is All That Matters consoles us with life’s tender humor and unexpected moments of redemption in the face of heartbreak, tragedy, and dislocation.

Out June 26th, 2018


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

I must confess, I had not heard of Mark Slouka before now.  And, another confession, I really didn’t know what to expect from this book being a collection of short stories.  I never was one to read books like this.

The cover is beautiful and the book isn’t very thick. So I decided to give it a try. Every story is filled with human emotion that often exposed raw and unbridled emotions.  There’s a variety of characters and life issues expressed through extraordinary settings, woven into decisive plots and excellent writing.  I was pleasantly surprised.

Is this my favorite style of books? No.  But I would suggest you give this particular author a try and judge for yourself what you think about the variety of insightful and thoughtful stories woven together by an extraordinary writing style.

I gave this book:




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