Book Review: Amazing Things Are Happening Here

Jacob Appel Is a Master at Balancing Contrasts  

In the eight short stories that make up Amazing Things Are Happening Here, Jacob M. Appel’s characters will entangle you in typical, relatable dilemmas, yet all of them very different. They struggle with contrasts such as right and wrong, good and evil, and life and death. They agonize over whether the lives they ended up with are better than the lives they had wanted to live, and whether they have any regrets over what they missed. Some characters are plain while others are beautiful, some are smart while others are simple, and some are stubborn while others are understanding. 

Canvassing is filled with irony between love lost and love found. In Grappling, hearts ache from rejection but still have hope for the future. In Embers, he writes of the similarities and differences between families from opposite sides of town, and boys longing for girls they can’t have. His detail of places like Creve Coeur, Cormorant Island, Narragansett Bay and Amity Cove make you feel like you’re there, while his endings will leave you wanting more and wondering what would have happened next.

About The Author: Jacob M. Appel

Jacob M. Appel is a physician, attorney and bioethicist based in New York City. He is the author of more than two hundred published short stories and is a past winner of the Boston Review Short Fiction Competition, the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Award for the Short Story, the Dana Award, the Arts & Letters Prize for Fiction, the North American Review’s Kurt Vonnegut Prize, the Missouri Review’s Editor’s Prize, the Sycamore Review’s Wabash Prize, the Briar Cliff Review’s Short Fiction Prize, the H. E. Francis Prize, the New Millennium Writings Fiction Award in four different years, an Elizabeth George Fellowship and a Sherwood Anderson Foundation Writers Grant. 

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Article originally Published in the February/March 2020 Issue “Short Stories”

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