PRAISE

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“A good book is one that improves with subsequent readings. Oranges by Gary Eldon Peter is such a book… It has the ring of authenticity. The writing is spare and subtle. The drama is low key, but this is appropriate for a story of this gay man growing up in
the midwest. When I picked up Oranges again to write this review, I enjoyed it even more than my first reading. It really gives us a chance to walk in someone else’s shoes.”

— Friends of American Writers Chicago

“This short, competition-winning volume of linked stories by Gary Eldon Peter is a solid bet for fellow lovers of short stories…Peter’s prose is vivid but not flashy, free of clutter, with just enough detail to set the scene. He leaves plenty of room for the reader’s imagination to fill in the gaps…Oranges is a strong set of stories, perfect for rainy Spring afternoons that look forward to sunny mornings.”

— Jerry Wheeler
Out in Print

“Through the window of the short story format, Gary Eldon Peter successfully synthesizes not just a singular experience, but winds many lives into the social, political, and interpersonal relationships of changing times and increasing public awareness of gay individuals, and their prevalence in American society…readers receive a pointed and compelling piece about aging, social and psychological changes, and moments of understanding that successfully penetrate stigma, prejudice, and social barriers…Oranges is a delightful compilation of such moments, traversing changing times, culture, relationships, and levels of acceptance and understanding both within and outside of the gay community. Readers who choose Oranges for its revelations about changing attitudes, hearts, and minds will find each story lingers in the mind long after the reading; much like the pungent scent of sweet oranges remains in one's taste memory long after the last satisfying bite.”

— Diane C. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
Midwest Book Review

Read the full text of the review here.

“I just finished reading the story collection Oranges by Minnesota author Gary Eldon Peter. It is a poignant, lovely, personal story that is beautifully written and very genuine…so glad I bought this book. Loved it, and am recommending it to my friends.” 

— “Readers Recommend Books” Feature
Star Tribune

“A debut collection of linked short stories about love, loss, and intimacy, Oranges is a gentle look at what it means to come of age and grow older as a gay man in the Midwest…Peter is talented at honing in on small moments that reveal character, and he sensitively captures the quietude of life in the Midwest… his stories earnestly depict an endless longing for human connection against the backdrop of a placid landscape.”

— Michael Kaler
Lambda Literary Review

Read the full text of the review here.

"This is an author who clearly has an intimate yet objective relationship with his characters; he presents them simply. Their relationships are complicated but their lives are not fancy...It is simply a life lived. Reading Oranges, we watch a man grow up and change and stay the same, endure losses and victories of the heart, and we feel more whole ourselves for having read it."

— Jimmy Newborg
The Common

Read the full text of the review here.

“Peter writes revealingly about things we all experience. The haunting aura left by a former lover. Sparks of humor even in tending to grim details of a dying parent. The incompleteness, the compromises, of our closest relationships…Convincing and humane, these stories introduce a welcome voice that expertly exposes foibles and gently reveals how we hurt and help and love one another.”

— Claude Peck
Star Tribune

Read the full text of the review here.

“Gary Eldon Peter’s debut collection Oranges is the work of a short story writer with a keen sense of the human heart. These powerful stories, told with startling honesty and compassion, serve as evidence of our universal longing for deep connection. Carefully rendered and tenderly imagined, full of flawed and utterly convincing characters, this is a collection that honors small mercies and the transformative power of love.”

— Sheila O’Connor
Author of Where No Gods Came and Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth

 

“What we do as artists is gather up pieces of lives and try our best, if not to make sense of them, then at least to find or create patterns that help rescue them from rubble. ‘Knock hard. Life is deaf,’ Mimi Parent wrote. Oranges, like all great writing, never lets down but keeps on leaning towards us, speaking, till we listen—hard.

“There’s a great deal to admire in Oranges. Ground-control matters like clean, economical writing, strong characters, vivid scenes. Effective shifts in tense and point of view. Fine evocations of emotions in all their mutability. The structure itself, giving us the stuff and heft of a novel along with the freshness and renewed engagement of short stories. Strikingly, the effortless way the writer traces lineaments of past ever flowing into present, present forever washing back into past: memory becoming anticipation; anticipation, memory.

“Everywhere I have a sense of consciousness ranging over the raw stuff of a life, putting pieces together first this way then that, casting about for something that might hold. Whether it be a Montaigne essay or Blind Willie McTell’s T’Ain’t Long fo’ Day, this is what great art does. And this is what Gary Eldon Peter has done.”

— James Sallis, Final Judge, 2016 New Rivers Press Many Voices Project Competition in Prose
Author of Drive and The Killer is Dying

 

Oranges is a book of quiet, enormous strength, a collection of slow-gathering moments that add up to the story of Michael Dolin, a gay man whose life and loves are shaped by the AIDS crisis, Midwestern social strictures and expectations for men. There is so much here, such compassion, such nerve and bite—this is a beautiful book, full of sorrow, surprise, and delight.”

— Audrey Niffenegger
Author of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry

 

“Gary Eldon Peter writes stories of great intimacy and wit, with an eye toward those awkward moments in which we are often most human and alive and hard to contain. I couldn't put Oranges down and missed it the instant I finished.”

— Paul Lisicky
Author of The Narrow Door: A Memoir of Friendship