Home When Sparrows Do Fall How Weeping Spends the Night Novels by Larry Stenzel Samuel Powell Publishing Co.

Tales to Tell

These stories are not so much about lost innocence as about innocence forfeited.  The tales open with Jack Streught as a little boy in the back seat of an old jalopy and close with him as a young man in the rear section of a jet airliner.  Due to errors in navigation he tries to travel through his own clay to reach a stairway to heaven.  In Jack's fitful and self absorbed shindig, any joyful quickstep forward seems always followed by a clumsy tumble that is two steps back.

Afraid of The Dark...

...is a story about a young man named Ted Kafka and his travels through the post-Watergate Wild West.  It is a sensitive exploration to the fringes of differing existences - that of making a living, that of the New Publishing Movement, and those of indistinct love and turbulent friendships.  It also asks the question as to which is the more important:  the destination or the journey...

Lillie Seline's Confession

The jury on Lillie Seline is still out.  You could cite the triangle she falls into with the stubborn Dariel Baker and the illusive Jeff Turnbull as being unavoidable fallout left behind by our most recent wave of women's activism.  You could even make the argument that, naturally, if there are such things as anti-heros, sooner or later anti-heroess' were bound to happen along too.  Or, maybe the only real mark against Lillie is that she's clumsily trespassed into one of the few exclusive men's clubs still remaining - one whose secret taboo rite is that of making morality.

A Vacation From Worry

The place is the cityscape of Megalopolis.  The time is the beginning of the eighth decade of this current century.  The dalliances we observe are those of a small group of fair-weather friends masquerading as chosen leaders.  We witness, too, a crowded merry-go-round full of stacked-together people reaching out with anxious fingers to touch any sweet plum or shiny ring that passes by.  And, in the distance, we see the outlines of an old fashioned scandal and a couple of nipped-in-the-bud romances sketched in for good measure.

Alms at Beautiful Gate

These are stories about the domestic life of oddballs.  In Alms at Beautiful Gate an ex-hero is kidnapped but no one will ransom him.  A Wise Man Mad is a story about an only slightly off-balance poor soul who has a terrorist for a neighbor and who becomes the target of a misdirected police hunt.  In A Season for Poor Choices an ex-convict tries to overcome his addiction to robbing grocery stores.

The point in these stark and sparsely written stories is about options running out, where the difficulty is not that the problems keep repeating themselves, but that the solutions do.

How Weeping Spends The Night

The grudging tension of old dogs versus new tricks unwinds itself in each of the stories in this collection.  In How Weeping Spends The Night, the title story, four old college friends stumble over the notion that the hurt that comes from not giving is greater than the hurt that comes from not receiving.

McGillivary, a Bible thumping old timer in Beyond Divining, comes to accept that sometimes it is harder to make exceptions than it is to make rules.

And in The Portable Courmeer, the aging writer Walter Courmeer tries not to waver from his sense of duty, even when he suspects that the course he is on is not going to play out as advertised.


Publication Date
November 2009

When Sparrows Do Fall

A Moral of the Nineties


Bradley Rolph is a young man who works in a warehouse and who is an anti-abortionist.  He stalks three generations of the Starbie family.  He targets Bill Starbie, a retired advertising executive, because he thinks him pro-abortion.  His daughter, Elena Starbie, a newspaper religion writer, he sees as too liberal in her theology.  And Mandy, Elena's daughter, who is a dancer in a nightclub, he observes to be too loose in her morals.

Joe Iverson, a police detective, well intentioned but slow moving, is brought in to protect the Starbies.  Bradley is able to elude Iverson but not the consequences of his own plotting.

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