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With Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, award-winning author Keith Rosson once again delves into notions of family, identity, indebtedness, loss, and hope, with the surefooted merging of literary fiction and magical realism he’s explored in previous novels. In “Dunsmuir,” a newly sober husband buys a hearse to help his wife spread her sister’s ashes, while “The Lesser Horseme With Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, award-winning author Keith Rosson once again delves into notions of family, identity, indebtedness, loss, and hope, with the surefooted merging of literary fiction and magical realism he’s explored in previous novels. In “Dunsmuir,” a newly sober husband buys a hearse to help his wife spread her sister’s ashes, while “The Lesser Horsemen” illustrates what happens when God instructs the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to go on a team-building cruise as a way of boosting their frayed morale. In “Brad Benske and the Hand of Light,” an estranged husband seeks his wife’s whereabouts through a fortuneteller after she absconds with a cult, and the returning soldier in “Homecoming” navigates the strange and ghostly confines of his hometown, as well as the boundaries of his own grief. With grace, imagination, and a brazen gallows humor, Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons merges the fantastic and the everyday, and includes new work as well as award-winning favorites.


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With Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, award-winning author Keith Rosson once again delves into notions of family, identity, indebtedness, loss, and hope, with the surefooted merging of literary fiction and magical realism he’s explored in previous novels. In “Dunsmuir,” a newly sober husband buys a hearse to help his wife spread her sister’s ashes, while “The Lesser Horseme With Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, award-winning author Keith Rosson once again delves into notions of family, identity, indebtedness, loss, and hope, with the surefooted merging of literary fiction and magical realism he’s explored in previous novels. In “Dunsmuir,” a newly sober husband buys a hearse to help his wife spread her sister’s ashes, while “The Lesser Horsemen” illustrates what happens when God instructs the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to go on a team-building cruise as a way of boosting their frayed morale. In “Brad Benske and the Hand of Light,” an estranged husband seeks his wife’s whereabouts through a fortuneteller after she absconds with a cult, and the returning soldier in “Homecoming” navigates the strange and ghostly confines of his hometown, as well as the boundaries of his own grief. With grace, imagination, and a brazen gallows humor, Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons merges the fantastic and the everyday, and includes new work as well as award-winning favorites.

30 review for Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons: Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gerhard

    My first experience reading Keith Rosson was Road Seven, an off-kilter yarn about a disgraced cryptozoologist’s journey to a pumpkin farm in Hvíldarland to investigate a unicorn sighting. Oh yes, there is also a secret military base nearby potentially plotting to bring about the end of the world. This sense of zany fun is definitely present in ‘The Lesser Horsemen’, which is Rosson’s wacky take on the fallout if God were ever to instruct the Four Horsemen to go on a team-building cruise. Yes, the My first experience reading Keith Rosson was Road Seven, an off-kilter yarn about a disgraced cryptozoologist’s journey to a pumpkin farm in Hvíldarland to investigate a unicorn sighting. Oh yes, there is also a secret military base nearby potentially plotting to bring about the end of the world. This sense of zany fun is definitely present in ‘The Lesser Horsemen’, which is Rosson’s wacky take on the fallout if God were ever to instruct the Four Horsemen to go on a team-building cruise. Yes, there is a corporate pecking order even with the Apocalypse. Rosson then veers off into some truly unexpected and dark territory: ‘At this Table’ is a quietly effective ghost story about a haunted restaurant, while ‘Baby Jill’ relooks at the Tooth Fairy myth through a very twisted prism. In line with the theme of ghosts and hauntings, ‘Their Souls Climb the Room’ is a harrowing look at the Good Acres Foods hog-slaughtering plant and one man in particular who works there, the ex-con Nolan, who “could feel the souls of all the dead hogs pressing on his chest, pressing down on his ribcage like something real.” ‘Yes, We are Duly Concerned with Calamitous Events’ is a quiet end-of-the-world tale confined to a single office building, which begins with the memorable sentence: “Twenty-three days after the world kind of ends, we all watch as Human Resources Randy strangles the temp with a mouse cord.” An apocalyptic cult called the Hand of Light features in a couple of tales. What is interesting about this collection is that the bulk of the stories are very interior and low-key, focused on intense characterisation rather than narrative sleight of hand. A lot of stories also do not have traditional endings, leaving the reader with a strong sense of ‘in media res’, as if Rosson is merely giving you a glimpse of an alternate reality before shutting the door in your face. It is a brave choice for a writer to make, and I am confident that readers attracted to this collection will enjoy the ambiguity and nuance that Rosson brings to this fresh crop of tales. I must say I was expecting the title to pop up in one of the stories. While music does play a large role in many characters’ lives, especially in the background, we never do find out what sort of folk songs trauma surgeons could possibly listen to. If I had to characterise Rosson’s aesthetic as a writer, I would have to say that he is a hybrid of (dark) Ray Bradbury and (kooky) Stephen King. If reading short stories is not your cup of tea, I am sure that this book, with its careful curation of dreams and terrors, failures and lonely epiphanies, might just change your mind.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    When you crack the pages of Keith Rosson’s ”Folk Songs For Trauma Surgeons,” you are entering a world which appears in some ways like our own, but the laws of physics and metaphors don’t apply. These are fifteen dips into a percolating pot of gumbo that may prove too spicy for many. It’s dark, haunting, and has rather few rainbows and unicorns. Starting with the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse who have been sent on a corporate training session on an Alaska Cruise. We later get a corporate office When you crack the pages of Keith Rosson’s ”Folk Songs For Trauma Surgeons,” you are entering a world which appears in some ways like our own, but the laws of physics and metaphors don’t apply. These are fifteen dips into a percolating pot of gumbo that may prove too spicy for many. It’s dark, haunting, and has rather few rainbows and unicorns. Starting with the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse who have been sent on a corporate training session on an Alaska Cruise. We later get a corporate office sealed off from the outside world kind of like Orwell’s Animal Farm, but creepier. We get a tooth fairy with ethical qualms. And, you will never look at hog slaughtering the same way after reading the stories in this book. It’s as if Rosson took one corner of our universe and shoved it out there into the twilight zone and now everything is kind of tilted out of kilter. Enjoy this read but be forewarned it’s a perilous journey.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons is a short story collection that combines the everyday mundane with the fantastic and extraordinary.  Like all short story collections, there were stories I loved, and stories I could live without.  Most of the stories in Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons were strong for me, taking everyday events and adding unexpected details to create something exciting.    The first story of the collection, The Lesser Horsemen caught my attention with three out of the four Horsemen Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons is a short story collection that combines the everyday mundane with the fantastic and extraordinary.  Like all short story collections, there were stories I loved, and stories I could live without.  Most of the stories in Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons were strong for me, taking everyday events and adding unexpected details to create something exciting.    The first story of the collection, The Lesser Horsemen caught my attention with three out of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse sent on a cruise to work on their team building.  This unexpected scenario combined with such a commonplace work task created an interesting and amusing story. Baby Jill another favorite story of mine creating an emotional rollercoaster with the tooth fairy and what seems like run-of-the -mill workplace dynamics.   Yes, We Are Duly Concerned With Calamitous Events creates a humorous look at the kind-of end of the world through a group of dysfunctional office coworkers.   Homecoming is a heartfelt examination of the choices we make in life and the consequences we face after. These are just a selection of my favorites from the collection. These stories made me think and all had deep emotional connections.  Many had open endings creating a world of imagination for the characters when I was done reading. This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    The stories in Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons are haunting, the characters haunted. From the disillusioned cult member with bloody palms to the soldier returning to a place not quite like home, the employees trapped in the office and slowly losing their minds to the couple breaking up in a haunted diner, every character and their pain are vividly drawn. This is a unique collection of stories featuring the oddly gorgeous writing that has made me such a fan of Keith Rosson's work. (Huge thanks to M The stories in Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons are haunting, the characters haunted. From the disillusioned cult member with bloody palms to the soldier returning to a place not quite like home, the employees trapped in the office and slowly losing their minds to the couple breaking up in a haunted diner, every character and their pain are vividly drawn. This is a unique collection of stories featuring the oddly gorgeous writing that has made me such a fan of Keith Rosson's work. (Huge thanks to Meerkat Press for sending me an advance copy!)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anneke

    Book Review: Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons: Stories Author: Keith Rosson Publisher: Meerkat Press Publication Date: February 23, 2021 Review Date: January 20, 2021 From the blurb: “With Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, award-winning author Keith Rosson once again delves into notions of family, identity, indebtedness, loss, and hope, with the surefooted merging of literary fiction and magical realism he’s explored in previous novels. In “Dunsmuir,” a newly sober husband buys a hearse to help his wife s Book Review: Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons: Stories Author: Keith Rosson Publisher: Meerkat Press Publication Date: February 23, 2021 Review Date: January 20, 2021 From the blurb: “With Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, award-winning author Keith Rosson once again delves into notions of family, identity, indebtedness, loss, and hope, with the surefooted merging of literary fiction and magical realism he’s explored in previous novels. In “Dunsmuir,” a newly sober husband buys a hearse to help his wife spread her sister’s ashes, while “The Lesser Horsemen” illustrates what happens when God instructs the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to go on a team-building cruise as a way of boosting their frayed morale. In “Brad Benske and the Hand of Light,” an estranged husband seeks his wife’s whereabouts through a fortuneteller after she absconds with a cult, and the returning soldier in “Homecoming” navigates the strange and ghostly confines of his hometown, as well as the boundaries of his own grief. With grace, imagination, and a brazen gallows humor, Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons merges the fantastic and the everyday, and includes new work as well as award-winning favorites.” —— Wow! I just love when I discover very good writers who were unknown to me prior to being introduced to them via NetGalley. Keith Rosson is one of those writers. I see that he has written a fair number of other books prior to Folk Songs. This is absolutely gorgeous writing. The imagery is imaginative and just stunning. This is the writing of a journeyman writer, who has put the time in, and honed his craft. I cannot wait to read more of his writing. This has been one of the more satisfying books I’ve read in some time. I love the magical realism, it makes my heart soar. If you have not read anything by Keith Rosson, it is my great joy to introduce him to you, and I highly recommend this book of short stories. Thank you to Meerkat Press for allowing me early access to this book. And the best of luck to Mr. Rosson with his continued writing career. This review will be posted on NetGalley and Goodreads. #netgalley #folksongsfortraumasurgeouns #keithrosson #meerkatpress #magicalrealism

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    This is the first work I’ve read by Keith Rosson and I guarantee it will not be the last. The writing in each of these stories is amazingly well done. Everything flows naturally with just the right amount of dark undertones or raunch (in some places) to not feel pretentious. I can’t pick a favorite story here. I loved them all so much. Each one has their own merits and I just refuse to pick a favorite. Sue me. The writing about addiction in these stories is just so brutally honest but at the sam This is the first work I’ve read by Keith Rosson and I guarantee it will not be the last. The writing in each of these stories is amazingly well done. Everything flows naturally with just the right amount of dark undertones or raunch (in some places) to not feel pretentious. I can’t pick a favorite story here. I loved them all so much. Each one has their own merits and I just refuse to pick a favorite. Sue me. The writing about addiction in these stories is just so brutally honest but at the same time heart wrenchingly emotional. Everything works so well. This is one of those collections I went into blind. I liked the title, quirky and just enough to get me interested. This is also one of those collections that I slowed down to a snails pace to read because I wanted to savor every word. It was worth it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Keith Rosson

    Absolutely the most moving debut collection of short fiction I'VE ever written, I can say that much without reservation! Absolutely the most moving debut collection of short fiction I'VE ever written, I can say that much without reservation!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    i received an arc in exchange for an honest review. three star average for the stories. stand outs were "winter, spring, whatever happens next", which i thought ended rather well and i liked faith, the main narrator, "yes, we are duly concerned with calamitous events", which gave me dark 'the office' vibes (keep in mind i've never seen the show, just the odd clip here and there), and "the lesser horsemen", which was a great opener and really kind of cool and original. extra star for the title, whi i received an arc in exchange for an honest review. three star average for the stories. stand outs were "winter, spring, whatever happens next", which i thought ended rather well and i liked faith, the main narrator, "yes, we are duly concerned with calamitous events", which gave me dark 'the office' vibes (keep in mind i've never seen the show, just the odd clip here and there), and "the lesser horsemen", which was a great opener and really kind of cool and original. extra star for the title, which i am obsessed with.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    When I was a teenager, REM were my favorite band. I started with Out of Time and then used allowances and Christmas present Sam Goody gift certificates to slowly buy the previous albums. Dead Letter Office came as a surprise to me. Not knowing much about music (or anything else, really) at that age, I assumed B-sides were songs that just weren't good enough for albums. Dead Letter Office showed me that the B-sides were a chance for the band to try something different. The songs were as good as t When I was a teenager, REM were my favorite band. I started with Out of Time and then used allowances and Christmas present Sam Goody gift certificates to slowly buy the previous albums. Dead Letter Office came as a surprise to me. Not knowing much about music (or anything else, really) at that age, I assumed B-sides were songs that just weren't good enough for albums. Dead Letter Office showed me that the B-sides were a chance for the band to try something different. The songs were as good as the ones on their albums, just more playful or weird. Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons is Keith Rosson's Dead Letter Office. The work is on par with his previous novels, but the short stories allow him to play around more. "The Lesser Horseman" is his "Voice of Harold", "Winter, Spring, Whatever Happens After That" is his "Ages of You". I'm a big fan of Keith's novels and Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons does not disappoint.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sabetha

    It's official, Keith needs very few words to paint the sum of someone's character in vivid color. Each of these 15 stories tells a tale of someone that feels familiar. I love how immersive his writing is, even in short stories, where you're only with the characters for a few thousand words. You can't help but understand their deepest emotions. Honorable Mentions: The Lesser Horsemen - This tales of the other 3 horseman is one I didn't know I needed about the fab 4. We all know that death his here It's official, Keith needs very few words to paint the sum of someone's character in vivid color. Each of these 15 stories tells a tale of someone that feels familiar. I love how immersive his writing is, even in short stories, where you're only with the characters for a few thousand words. You can't help but understand their deepest emotions. Honorable Mentions: The Lesser Horsemen - This tales of the other 3 horseman is one I didn't know I needed about the fab 4. We all know that death his here to stay, but what happens with the other 3 are no longer working out? This hilarious take on how God rehabilitates them was fitting for the pandemic we're currently living in. Guess pestilence received a bit of contract work. Winter, Spring, Whatever Happens After That - This one got me right in the feels. The way Becky feels about school, work, and her alcoholic father, so heartbreaking. The description in this was does so much for the emotional state of the characters, and the lives they lead. Plus Brad Benske and the Hand of Light, and Dunsmuir - sooo many feels in such a short amount of words. You'll love this collection of stories if you enjoy works of fiction that don't have an explicit plot, and are more character driven. If you like reading about topics that toe the line of magic and realism, and are tied together with deep emotions pick up this book!

  11. 4 out of 5

    MCWow

    Keith Rosson writes like a dream. Book blurbs can be pieces of puff, but the one on the front cover of FOLK SONGS FOR TRAUMA SURGEONS is accurate: “An unforgettable and often heartbreaking one-two punch of satire of and elegy for a decayed America.”

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alison C

    I previously read and enjoyed two novels by Mr. Rosson (“Smoke City” and “Road Seven”), so when Meerkat Press made this collection of short stories available via LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program, I jumped at the chance. “Folk Songs” consists of 15 stories, each previously published elsewhere, and I found that I needed to read the book in chunks rather than all at once because of the sheer variety of tales being told. Many involve men in crisis, but there are loads of other situations too. I previously read and enjoyed two novels by Mr. Rosson (“Smoke City” and “Road Seven”), so when Meerkat Press made this collection of short stories available via LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program, I jumped at the chance. “Folk Songs” consists of 15 stories, each previously published elsewhere, and I found that I needed to read the book in chunks rather than all at once because of the sheer variety of tales being told. Many involve men in crisis, but there are loads of other situations too. My favourites include the first story in the book, “The Lesser Horsemen,” about War, Famine and Pestilence having to go on a cruise in order to learn how to get along with each other (Death, the superstar of the group, doesn’t need the training); “Baby Jill,” about how the Tooth Fairy bears - or doesn’t bear - her burden; the Lord of the Flies-ish “Yes, We Are Duly Concerned with Calamitous Events,” which manages to be both grim *and* hilarious at the same time; “Homecoming,” which involves a soldier returning to his hometown from war, but nothing is the same; and the last story, “Brad Benske and the Hand of Light,” wherein the title character’s wife leaves him for a cult and he more or less falls apart. Some of the stories are downright depressing, but all of them feature the same lyrical and visceral writing style that drew me to Mr. Rosson’s novels; recommended!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Stories have the capacity to help us more easily parse out and make sense of the existential issues we face, which the collection of stories within Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons: Stories by Keith Rosson does. To read this, and other book reviews, visit my website: http://makinggoodstories.wordpress.com/. Throughout the fifteen stories contained within the pages of this collection there are trials of the human condition that are explored, including, but by no means limited to, identity, family rel Stories have the capacity to help us more easily parse out and make sense of the existential issues we face, which the collection of stories within Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons: Stories by Keith Rosson does. To read this, and other book reviews, visit my website: http://makinggoodstories.wordpress.com/. Throughout the fifteen stories contained within the pages of this collection there are trials of the human condition that are explored, including, but by no means limited to, identity, family relationships, grieving, and the ever-present, even if small, glimmer of hope. There’s a good mix of tales that look closely at one specific slice of humanity; there are those anchored firmly in the reality we’re familiar with, and then there are tales imbued with a more magical or supernatural quality, all of which helps to provide variety to the narrative atmospheres presented, particularly if you read several stories in one sitting (as I typically do). While many of the stories address heavier and gloomier topics, including those of death, separation, and destruction, there’s a dark humor infused in the telling of the tale, which provides a good dose of levity to the otherwise rather depressing situations presented. As each of the narratives are character-driven, it was vital to have them be well-depicted and Rosson crafts them in detail and with emotion, making it nearly effortless to identify with them, to some degree, and become invested in their tales of woe. *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Linda Hepworth

    I’d previously read Keith Rosson’s four novels (all published by Meerkat Press), giving each of them a 5* rating. The combination of the enthralling, imaginative, and frequently idiosyncratic, quality of his story-telling, his wonderfully vivid characterisations and his powerful evocations of time and place, is what makes them all remain vivid in my memory. However, prior to receiving an ARC of 'Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons' I hadn’t read any of his short stories and wondered whether I could p I’d previously read Keith Rosson’s four novels (all published by Meerkat Press), giving each of them a 5* rating. The combination of the enthralling, imaginative, and frequently idiosyncratic, quality of his story-telling, his wonderfully vivid characterisations and his powerful evocations of time and place, is what makes them all remain vivid in my memory. However, prior to receiving an ARC of 'Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons' I hadn’t read any of his short stories and wondered whether I could possibly find them as captivating and thought-provoking. To my delight I did, probably because all the qualities I so admired in his novels are present in each of the fifteen stories in this collection. All too often I find that reading collections is a frustrating experience because my level of engagement usually varies considerably between the individual stories. However, I can truly say that every one of these stories almost took my breath away with their sheer brilliance, with their capacity to draw me in to the heart of the characters, following the trajectories of their journeys and experiences, however weird and unpredictable their final destinations and resolutions happened out to be. The stories encompass not only many themes (loss, grief, fractured relationships, family trauma, loneliness, death, destruction, questions of identity, to name just a few) but also elements of magical realism, the supernatural, science fiction and horror. I marvelled at the fact that although the stories are apparently so disparate, they work extraordinarily well as a collection because even those featuring fantastical scenarios somehow feel recognisable because, at their heart, each one captures something essential about the human condition. Each character was so well-drawn that, whether likeable or disagreeable, their behaviour felt recognisable and their character traits ego-syntonic. Such vivid portrayals made it easy to feel almost immediately drawn into whatever dilemmas and challenges they were facing, to such an extent that once a story ended I usually felt so empathetically engaged that I needed time to reflect, then disengage, before moving on to the next story. Although threads of sorrow, sadness and despair infuse many of the tales, these were usually offset by glimmers of hope and moments of wonderfully comic dark humour. For me this meant that I found the stories thought-provoking rather than depressing, and when I reached the end of each one I felt that sense of satisfaction which comes when a story has reached a satisfactory conclusion, however ambiguous that resolution might be. Reading this collection has reinforced my appreciation of, and admiration for, the author’s use of language. His lyrical prose, his psychological insights, his wonderful similes and the richness of detail in his descriptions are what make his prose such a joy to read. I don’t want to highlight any of these unforgettable stories as favourites because the reality is that I immersed myself in each of the journeys the author’s fertile imagination took me on, relishing his sense of the weird, the idiosyncratic, the absurd, the ambiguous, as well as his willingness to explore the darker sides of human nature. These aren’t always comfortable stories to read but I found them immensely satisfying and I recommend them, without reservation, to any reader who appreciates thought-provoking writing which combines fantasy and reality in such an imaginative way. With my thanks to Tricia Reeks at Meerkat Press for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sindhu S

    This book is a collection of short stories. I do not like short stories because I view them as parts sheared off a novel. For someone who keeps wondering about characters even after finishing full-length novels, short stories can be downright painful. You’d think that would automatically make me not read it. However, this is also the first time I have come across a Keith Rosson book. So, I thought I should read some and then decide. As I mentioned earlier, short stories leave me wondering what ha This book is a collection of short stories. I do not like short stories because I view them as parts sheared off a novel. For someone who keeps wondering about characters even after finishing full-length novels, short stories can be downright painful. You’d think that would automatically make me not read it. However, this is also the first time I have come across a Keith Rosson book. So, I thought I should read some and then decide. As I mentioned earlier, short stories leave me wondering what happened next. Rosson takes it to the next level and leaves them with non-traditional endings. I forgave him only because somehow they made sense to me and because some parts of the book reminded me of Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman, and even Terry Pratchett! I am always intrigued by the different angles from which people view things. Rosson has a different lens altogether. His stories have this wacky sense of fun mixed with dark, twisted sense of misery. Shades of dystopia, apocalypse, a slice of the underbelly of the world, and sometimes, a touch of tenderness and hope... Two asides: He has not mentioned the title anywhere else. So, I never got to know which folk songs trauma surgeons listen to. However, here’s what he told Paul Semel about the title. I did not read ‘Their Souls Climb the Room’, which is about a hog-slaughtering plant and a man who works there. To sum up, an interesting book with something to smile at and something to despair about. Note: I received a free copy of the book from Tricia Reeks at Meerkat Press. I reviewed it voluntarily.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I received an ARC of Folk Songs For Trauma Surgeons: Stories, authored by Keith Rosson, from Librarythings; my honest review follows below, freely given. I am thankful for the opportunity. I rated this collection 4.5 stars. The title grabbed me, I wondered if it would be filled with stories within the medical field; what would trauma surgeons consider folk songs in story form? After finishing this collection, I looked up the author’s other works and added them to my must buy list. THE LESSER HORSE I received an ARC of Folk Songs For Trauma Surgeons: Stories, authored by Keith Rosson, from Librarythings; my honest review follows below, freely given. I am thankful for the opportunity. I rated this collection 4.5 stars. The title grabbed me, I wondered if it would be filled with stories within the medical field; what would trauma surgeons consider folk songs in story form? After finishing this collection, I looked up the author’s other works and added them to my must buy list. THE LESSER HORSEMAN This made me chortle, not laugh or giggle. Chortle. Terry Pratchett would approve, I’d like to think. AT THIS TABLE When telling this event to family, friends, down the road of time, I wonder how many will believe it? How many will think it a cute exaggeration or complete flight of fancy? BABY JILL My favorite of the this collection! I would read a whole series set in this world, I would love to see all the inner workings of this universe. Carol forever. Gary too, bless his heart. THEIR SOULS CLIMB THE ROOM This is the first story that really hit me right in the feels; I’m talking full-on shoulder slump, staring into nothing, and feeling the world was a little more grey. Beautiful. HOSPITALITY You never know what the people you see are going through, or how it may affect you. This was odd, like a slice of chocolate pie where they added raisins for some reason. THIS WORLD OR THE NEXT Fictionally, I have a thing for cults and fanaticism, their reality is too heartbreaking. I wonder what it was like for them in their heyday after watching them during their setting sun. GIFTS The imagery that flowed around the people in this story reminded me of the movie Re-cycle (2006), a Cantonese film that’s tag line was ‘The abandoned don’t just disappear.’ Every time the moths appeared in the story, I thought of this line. COYOTE For better or worse, this was one of my least favorite in the collection. The brothers’ connection and past were done well, but the story was a bit confusing for me. YES, WE ARE DULY CONCERNED WITH CALAMITOUS EVENTS The lack of information on the cause of the calamitous events within this story made the skin on the back of my neck feel weird while reading it, thinking about it. Are they sure what they see out the windows is true? WINTER, SPRING, WHATEVER HAPPENS AFTER THAT Another in the feels one. Does how you think the ending goes say something about the state of your mind? Glass half and all that? I know how I think it ended, and it wasn’t great. FORGIVE ME THIS I fear this is one that I do not get. I’ve read it a few times, and I can understand it in sections, but when I try to connect it all together, I fail. DUNSMUIR My sister likes to watch those slices of life anime, which are always so perfect. Some lives are a little more rocky but just as happy in the end. HOMECOMING Another one that I would be interested in reading an expanded story on someday. Is there only one town? If so, does it ever get crowded? THE MELODY OF THE THING Just so much bad luck on a dude. BRAD BENSKE AND THE HAND OF LIGHT I don’t know if I think that Sissy was kind or cruel in her actions here. Maybe both, but it was interesting to see things from her husband’s side.

  17. 4 out of 5

    CJ

    An eclectic mix of short stories that range from whimsical to disturbing and twisted. Some of the stories felt more like a teaser or flash fiction and I was left wanting more. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse was the standout story for me, but overall a decent collection. I will definitely be looking out for more of Rosson's work. Good commuting read. Recommended for fans of: Jacob M. Appel Thank you to Netgalley and Meerkat Press for the ARC. An eclectic mix of short stories that range from whimsical to disturbing and twisted. Some of the stories felt more like a teaser or flash fiction and I was left wanting more. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse was the standout story for me, but overall a decent collection. I will definitely be looking out for more of Rosson's work. Good commuting read. Recommended for fans of: Jacob M. Appel Thank you to Netgalley and Meerkat Press for the ARC.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. NOTE: I won a free eBook copy of this book in MOBI format from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers (October 2020). A short story collection that is not for the faint-of-heart. I found myself wincing at the various tales of ruin - but in a good way, as Rosson's prose examines many facets of each protagonist's psychological state. An acpocalyptic air permeates the ether of this collection, but the main focus is how each of the characters cope with the challenges they face. (In short, not well.) My favori NOTE: I won a free eBook copy of this book in MOBI format from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers (October 2020). A short story collection that is not for the faint-of-heart. I found myself wincing at the various tales of ruin - but in a good way, as Rosson's prose examines many facets of each protagonist's psychological state. An acpocalyptic air permeates the ether of this collection, but the main focus is how each of the characters cope with the challenges they face. (In short, not well.) My favorite story was the first in the collection, "The Lesser Horseman." My reactions to each individual story: (1) "The Lesser Horseman:" This one hits differently after a global pandemic. (2) "At This Table:" This one had some interesting asides in the footnotes. (3) "Baby Jill:" What are the consequences of breaking out of our prescribed roles? (4) "Their Souls Climb the Room:" Suffering on multiple levels. (5) "Hospitality:" Converging storylines resolve in ways not immediately expected. (6) "This World Or the Next:" How religions choose to die. (7) "Gifts:" Strange and meandering, much like the protagonist’s narrative style. (8) "Coyote:" So many little things are lost. (9) "Yes, We Are Duly Concerned With Calamitous Events:" An episode of “The Office,” straight from Hell. (10) "Winter, Spring, Whatever Happens After That:" Surely this one is playing out verbatim somewhere nearby. (11) "Forgive Me This:" The opposite of filial piety. (12) "Dunsmuir:" Choose a different path. (13) "Homecoming:" One possibility for purgatory. (14) "The Melody of the Thing:" This one hit close to home, since I feel like I know many struggling musicians that are one crisis away from ruin. But this shows that inspiration comes from unexpected places. (15) "Brad Benske and The Hand of Light:" Nice connection to the earlier story "This World Or the Next."

  19. 4 out of 5

    bookish tanna

    Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons highlights unforgettable, well-written short stories for the people who struggle with their identities, the people that ask questions and get no answers, the people with their families, etc. We explore how relationships can affect us, how hope gets lost, and how trauma can delve into the roots of everything one stands for. Award-winning favorites, unpublished works, and new tales fill this impactful short-story collection. While we dive into the bold character designs Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons highlights unforgettable, well-written short stories for the people who struggle with their identities, the people that ask questions and get no answers, the people with their families, etc. We explore how relationships can affect us, how hope gets lost, and how trauma can delve into the roots of everything one stands for. Award-winning favorites, unpublished works, and new tales fill this impactful short-story collection. While we dive into the bold character designs and the emotions that well up inside them, we unearth eerie histories and tragic pasts. Will our characters ever find the one thing they're looking for or enclose in their afflictions? Only time will tell. Rosson's expertise in literary fiction and magical realism shows as we perceive the intensity of how far your imagination can take you. I certainly enjoyed this book! It was an engaging read supplied with raw, relatable people dealing with some concerns in their lives. All in all, I highly recommend this one.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons is a well curated collection of shorter fiction from Keith Rosson. Due out 23rd Feb 2021 from Meerkat Press, it's 206 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. This is a mixed bag of short fict Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons is a well curated collection of shorter fiction from Keith Rosson. Due out 23rd Feb 2021 from Meerkat Press, it's 206 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. This is a mixed bag of short fiction, 15 in all (plus a short acknowledgements and author bio). One reason I prefer collections and anthologies is that short fiction is really challenging. It's spare and the author doesn't have a wealth of wordage to develop characters or plotting. Well written short fiction is a delight. I also love collections because if one story doesn't really grab me, there's another story just a few pages away. The book doesn't include author notes or previous publishing info. These are generally high quality speculative fiction/fantasy realism. About half are distinctly dark with original takes on the world and our reality in it. Probably my favorite story (there are several standouts) was "The Lesser Horsemen". Who know the afterlife was streamlining their corporate culture? Four and a half stars. Outstanding stories from a talented author at the top of his game. All of the stories were previously unfamiliar to me. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Liliyana Shadowlyn

    This was a collection of absolutely captivating, odd, stories. I loved it! The stories are very character driven, and make you want to peer into their worlds even more. The descriptions are vivid, and while some stories are humorous, some are darker. You start off with "The Lesser Horsemen: and I knew right then that I was in for a wonderful ride. I can't imagine being on a cruise ship with the horsemen of the apocalypse! All of them will drag you into them before you know what's happening, and This was a collection of absolutely captivating, odd, stories. I loved it! The stories are very character driven, and make you want to peer into their worlds even more. The descriptions are vivid, and while some stories are humorous, some are darker. You start off with "The Lesser Horsemen: and I knew right then that I was in for a wonderful ride. I can't imagine being on a cruise ship with the horsemen of the apocalypse! All of them will drag you into them before you know what's happening, and leave you dazed when you re-enter the real world when they're over. I look forward to reading more from this author!!!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    "Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons" is the kind of short story collection that feels like a really good alt-rock album you would play for a cross-country road trip (while also pondering your life). The characters in each of these stories are all people experiencing change: its immediate effects, its long-term impact, and everything in between. If I had to pick a story that embodies the totality of "Folk Songs," it would be "Hospitality," which takes place at a hotel near a water park. The sorry cast "Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons" is the kind of short story collection that feels like a really good alt-rock album you would play for a cross-country road trip (while also pondering your life). The characters in each of these stories are all people experiencing change: its immediate effects, its long-term impact, and everything in between. If I had to pick a story that embodies the totality of "Folk Songs," it would be "Hospitality," which takes place at a hotel near a water park. The sorry cast of people at this hotel are dealing with very different issues, all of which feel dire and important despite our meeting each character for only a few ages. Another highlight of the collection is "Baby Jill," which explores a dark world invisible to the eyes of most outsiders except for one: the Tooth Fairy. (This one gets a bit of a trigger warning, despite it being a very moving story about an isolated person who feels powerless to help others in pain.) Finally, "The Melody of the Thing" is my third pick of the collection, and it's well summed-up as "no good deed goes unpunished." But it's also a story about punishing others after experiencing a horrible injury, while also punishing oneself. Overall, this is an honest and vulnerable collection of stories that should be read in as few sittings as possible. Don't worry about binge-reading "Folk Songs," it's just that kind of anthology. Recommended if you like stories that resonate with the after-thoughts in your head. Thank you to Meerkat Press and Netgalley for granting me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Justin Hall

    This is my third Rosson book and I can't get enough! This was an intense set of stories. I enjoyed how they went together. The beginning story of the Lesser Horseman had me thinking the stories would be mostly fantasy but this was a great mix of harsh reality some times to the point of mundanity*. There is a dry gritty humor to Rossons work and that has me coming back every time. If you are a lover of Short Stories this is one for your shelf. Thanks to Meerkat Press for this early review copy and This is my third Rosson book and I can't get enough! This was an intense set of stories. I enjoyed how they went together. The beginning story of the Lesser Horseman had me thinking the stories would be mostly fantasy but this was a great mix of harsh reality some times to the point of mundanity*. There is a dry gritty humor to Rossons work and that has me coming back every time. If you are a lover of Short Stories this is one for your shelf. Thanks to Meerkat Press for this early review copy and look out for this book February 23rd. 2021!! *Had to do some spell checking on that one

  24. 4 out of 5

    TheBookmistress

    This is a really solid collection of short stories, and it gave me a lot of feelings. Rosson manages something that is pretty difficult to do- walking that thin line between multiple genres while still creating a cohesive whole. The stories here range from darkly humorous to deeply emotional portraits of life, if perhaps lives in a world not quite like ours. Standouts for me included: The Lesser Horsemen: The other Horsemen of the Apocalypse (not Death, he’s doing just fine) are sent on a teambui This is a really solid collection of short stories, and it gave me a lot of feelings. Rosson manages something that is pretty difficult to do- walking that thin line between multiple genres while still creating a cohesive whole. The stories here range from darkly humorous to deeply emotional portraits of life, if perhaps lives in a world not quite like ours. Standouts for me included: The Lesser Horsemen: The other Horsemen of the Apocalypse (not Death, he’s doing just fine) are sent on a teambuilding cruise. Baby Jill: A tooth fairy is starting to lose her touch. This World of the Next & Brad Benske and the Hand of Light: These two stories give different points of view on a family torn apart by a cult. Yes, We are Duly Concerned with Calamitous Events: The world has kinda ended & we watch the employees of a novelty sex toy office fall the fuck apart. This one was both hilarious and disturbing. This collection has lingered in my bones for a few days, and I find myself rolling the language around in my head. Rosson’s language is both lyrical and sometimes very raw, a combination that really worked for me. So I have already looked up his other books. I give this one a solid 4 stars, and the only reason it doesn’t get 5 is that I was pulled out of the stories a few times by some overly repeated phrases and unusual words. Like “limned” and “rimed.” Anyways, overall, I think anyone who enjoys dark, literary, or even speculative fiction will enjoy this. Many reviews use the phrase “magical realism” to describe the stories as well.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emily Hughes

    A collection of strange and unsettling, mostly unrelated short stories. I am a sucker for a good short story collection, and this one delivers. They range from the strange to the outright horrific, including a handful with a Twilight Zone vibe. The Lesser Horsemen This one was a strange choice to start the book with. It was compelling, bizarre, and well written, with an interesting premise: what if 3 of the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse went on a work retreat together? But it was also gratuitously A collection of strange and unsettling, mostly unrelated short stories. I am a sucker for a good short story collection, and this one delivers. They range from the strange to the outright horrific, including a handful with a Twilight Zone vibe. The Lesser Horsemen This one was a strange choice to start the book with. It was compelling, bizarre, and well written, with an interesting premise: what if 3 of the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse went on a work retreat together? But it was also gratuitously offensive in its depiction of God, which is just kind of a weird choice for the first story. If you are bothered by this sort of thing, skip the first one, come back to it later if you like. I will say, the depiction of Pestilence was pretty great. At This Table I really liked the unusual, sort of experimental way in which this was written. It reminded me a bit of House of Leaves (but more interesting). This was one of my favorites. Baby Jill The tooth fairy is a weird concept to begin with. Here, it’s fleshed out from the perspective of the tooth fairy in a bizarre, gritty fashion. Gifts A man dealing with losing his girlfriend, while living in a city being wracked by a strange war. It’s sort of mid-apocalyptic, but like many of the stories, you don’t get the whole picture (in a very intentional way). It’s pretty bleak, but compelling. I received this as a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Angela Maher

    This is an unusual collection, you certainly don't know quite what to expect from each story as you begin it. Some are really good. Some I would finish and wonder what the actual story was, beyond a snapshot of life. The connecting thread seems to be a bleakness, from addiction, or loss, or being lost. I expected all the stories to have a speculative fiction twist, but some didn't, and those didn't feel like they really fitted after reading the earlier stories. The writing is good, but as a coll This is an unusual collection, you certainly don't know quite what to expect from each story as you begin it. Some are really good. Some I would finish and wonder what the actual story was, beyond a snapshot of life. The connecting thread seems to be a bleakness, from addiction, or loss, or being lost. I expected all the stories to have a speculative fiction twist, but some didn't, and those didn't feel like they really fitted after reading the earlier stories. The writing is good, but as a collection it would have been better presented with fewer non-speculative pieces (or none). Some pieces didn't feel like they had a proper conclusion, or resolution, which left me looking for another page, or even a paragraph, to tie it all up and reveal its significance. The pacing of the stories could have been mixed better too. It settles into a slow burn pace that makes the book feel longer than it is. In conclusion, it's an interesting collection, best suited for reading one story at a time rather than settling down in a chair to make your way through several.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Meerkat Press

  28. 4 out of 5

    Megan

  29. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Pollara

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shelby

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