Jazz & Other Stories, by Dena Hunt
Like jazz music, these singular life stories play out in an improvisational current of tragedy, comedy, drama, and discovery. A little girl in rural Georgia, a young woman in Germany, a Floridian priest, a history professor in New Orleans, and others all contribute verses of experience—some with joy, some with sorrow, and some with shock, or even violence. Written over a period of many years by an award-winning author, these stories and their characters make up a varied collection of life’s jazz-like rhythm, its recurrent refrain of surprise, its terrible and beautiful crashes against the cymbals. Not one of the stories is about love, but they are all, in their different ways, love stories.
PRAISE for Jazz & Other Stories
Ever since reading her gripping historical novel, Treason, I have been hungering for more from Dena Hunt's gifted pen. This new collection of her stories has exceeded my highest expectations. Animated by the Christ-haunted spirit of Miss Hunt's native South, Jazz and Other Stories is first-rate fiction from a storyteller who plumbs the depths of the human condition. Simply splendid.
—Joseph Pearce, author of Race with the Devil, Tolkien: Man and Myth, Catholic Literary Giants, and many more
Dena Hunt is a ventriloquist who knows the voices of serpents and doves.
—Kenneth Colston, regular contributor to The New Criterion; LOGOS: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture; First Things; New Oxford Review
Dena Hunt demonstrates an impressive aesthetic range in this collection, from the Walker Percy-inspired novella Jazz to the more haunting and immediately arresting short stories akin to Flannery O’Connor meeting John Updike. Indeed, the force of Hunt’s post-Jamesian psychological realism marks her as a worthy inheritor of Caroline Gordon’s mantle, that underrated novelist whose immaculately rendered sentences drew readers into the irrupting worlds of the divine and the fallen. And constantly flickering at the edges of Hunt’s vision is wisdom incarnate—and the fear that we might be seized by that very love.
—Stephen Mirarchi, Associate Professor of English, Benedictine College; Editor of Myles Connolly's annotated works