Generally, I don’t read short story anthologies. I guess my attention span needs a more consistent focus, but Dan Glover has changed that aspect of appreciation for literature. Glover’s The Art of Caring: Zen Stories is many things; boring is not one of them!
When you see the cover, you know what you can expect beyond the Table of Contents. Twenty-two stories that, to a lesser or greater degree, reflect Glover’s interest and experience with Zen Buddhism. My assumption is that Mr. Glover is a practitioner and/or knowledgeable student of the faith. Zen emphasizes the attainment of Enlightenment and Glover delivers, particularly in Ghost, Nowhere to Go, and The Coldest Winter.
Dan Glover’s characters are well drawn, an accomplishment with a high degree of difficulty in the restrictions of a short story. Several of the different characters have attributes in common. They all seem to be broke, or down on their luck, or in some other way, they find themselves in a desperate state. While struggling to overcome the status quo, success is measured through the precepts of Buddhism. Interspersed among the other stories are several “sectionals” of a few paragraphs that contribute to the readers understanding of this Asian originated philosophy.
In spite of the darkness, and often oppressive, stories, Glover’s talent for the right prose never disappoints as he paints visuals clearly for his audience. One might wonder who that audience is. My best guess is that his intended listener is Dan Glover. The stories entertain. The writing is professional and inspired. Beyond amusing the reader, you will come away with a small grasp of the ancient way of life.
Mr. Glover provided this reviewer with a Kindle edition of his book at no cost in exchange for an honest review of his work. It is with no small amount of candor that I recommend The Art of Caring: Zen Stories and award it five stars.