Review — GOATS and other stories by Martin Ganzglass (Somalia)
Goats: And Other Stories
Martin Ganzglass (Somalia 1966–68)
Peace Corps Writers
Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson
Martin Ganzglass was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Somalia from 1966 to 1968. He has published a number of works of fiction and nonfiction, including six in an American Revolutionary War series.
This collection of short stories includes a wide range of characters, narrators, and settings. The title story, “Goats,” starts out appearing to be historical fiction but ends with a twist that is pure sci-fi. The first story, “Bridges,” is set in the era of the Viet Nam War, but others are set in the 21st century.
In addition to the ten regular stories, there is a section called lagniappe (pronounced lan-yap) at the end of the book. According to the author, a lagniappe is an old Louisiana tradition in which shopkeepers give customers a little something extra if they know to ask for it. Lagniappe could be baked goods, sweets or fruit. In this case it consists of five short stories of 2½ to 5½ pages.
Two of my favorite stories involve Allison Murphy, a feisty veteran of World War II living in a military retirement home, who flew P-38s, P-51s and every other military plane of that era. She is harassed by a Sergeant Trottman, who believes a woman who served in WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) is not a “real” veteran. One of the stories is aptly titled “Allie’s Revenge”.
One story is narrated by a dog, another by a former Italian fascist who is desperate to be buried in Naples. Hopefully, this gives you an idea of the great variety of these stories. All are well written and most entertaining. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
D.W. Jefferson was a Peace Corps agriculture volunteer in El Salvador (1974-76) and Costa Rica (1976-77). A blog about his Peace Corps years is at: dwjefferson.blogspot.com He is currently retired from a career in computer software engineering.
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