"If there is a smart man in your life who might still be tempted into the pleasures of contemporary literary fiction, "The Signal" could be just the gateway drug you're after"
—Ron Charles, Washington Post
In The Signal, Carlson tells the story of Mack who, after spending a few weeks in jail, convinces his soon to be ex-wife to go ahead with their annual trek into the wilderness. "He felt like a man washed up on the beach after trying to drown himself," Carlson writes.
Ron Carlson “writes like Hemingway without the misogyny and self-parody,” states Ron Charles in his Washington Post book Review. “Given the plot and these cleanly cut sentences, it's impossible not to think of Jake Barnes in "The Sun Also Rises," another fractured young man who retreated into the mountains to fish and pare his life down to a few deliberate routines.
Out of all the craft books on short stories I have read, this one provided me with the most practical nuts and bolts example of how to write a successful short story. The book takes us inside Ron Carlson's mind as he creates one of his stories. If you want to learn from a master storyteller, this is a great place to be! Carlson’s short stories have been published in Esquire, Harper’s, The New Yorker and Gentlemen’s Quarterly. Carlson also directs the UC Irvine MFA fiction writing program.
9 months ago