Six Stories of California, Calamity, and Love
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The characters in John M. Daniel's collection of fiction walk in and out of each other's stories, giving the book a friendly continuity. The book is also held together by the author's obvious enjoyment of old-fashioned popular song; most of the stories are named after American standards, and one of the recurring characters is a piano player named Casey, who views the world as his own piano bar.
Also common to the stories in Generous Helpings is the theme of California disasters. These stories, as different as they are from one another, contain such memorable events as the Loma Prieta earthquake, the Painted Cave fire, the Rodney King riots, and the devastating El Niño storms of 1983.
But the most important unifying theme of this book is suggested by the title: that people everywhere survive their problems and make progress only by helping one another. Generous Helpings is a slender volume of long short stories, and a big-hearted book.
Mr. Daniels writing is soft and accomplished with wry understatements and overstatements tossed in when you dont expect them.
This is fun and easy reading, generous in ways you should come to appreciate.
Lin Rolens, Santa Barbara News-Press
Daniel is an extraordinarily readable writer.
D. J. Paladino, Santa Barbara Independent
Midwest Book Review