The first thing one notices upon reading through the nine stories collected in Rides From Strangers by independent author Mike Sahno is how empty-feeling everyone is. If one experience can be said to tie together all the protagonists from this provocative compilation of literary tales (with a light touch of magical realism), it’s that of loneliness hard-earned through tough encounters with others. Mike Sahno is the author of three previous books, Jana, Brothers’ Hand and Miles of Files (which recently relaunched). Rides from Strangers is his first collection of stories, though he demonstrates effortless ease in developing these tales, which leave the reader with a desolate sense of loss more typically found in bleak examinations of dystopian society. Though that feeling may not sound good, these stories definitely are.
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Back at Fordham University, where I earned my MA English in 1998, one writer most graduate students had an opinion about was Stephen King. I mean, EVERYONE has an opinion about Stephen King. But anyone who has decided to dedicate their professional lives to reading and critical analysis–that is, the professors-in-training who pass through English graduate programs–deserve to be heard out. Should Stephen King be part of the literary canon–yes or no?