The broad range of characters in William Cass's moving second short story collection, Uncommon & Other Stories, all share a fascination with right action—how we know it, when we know it, and what that knowledge asks of us—in real time or in retrospect. Cass's stories are deeply rooted in the particularities of daily life and of nature—whether how to run a small inn in Arizona, harvest hay in Montana, mend an old woman's decaying picket fence, feed oneself through a stomach tube, teach an abandoned child how to garden, rob your neighbors' vacation homes. Even in regret, there is a bracing affirmation, however delayed, that other choices were possible, and that we are graced by this knowledge, however uncomfortable it may also be. As one narrator explains, "Now as I enter this final chapter of life, I'm struck at how much of it has been made up of encounters and events like those—many random and seemingly small, some involving choices or control and others not—and how their meaning remains mysterious, indelible, confounding, fervent."
ISBN: 978-1-7376940-6-9 pp. 214
WHAT REVIEWERS ARE SAYING
William Cass writes stories that will break your heart and then stitch it back together. Uncommon & Other Stories consists of fourteen small unflinching slices of life. Vividly real people deal with tragedies and regrets, but the stories are leavened with hope, grace, and affirmation. Cass’s masterful prose is spare and straight forward, immersing you in each story’s world and making you care deeply about the characters and how the story develops.—McKie Campbell, author of Clean Slate and North Coast
“Uncommon” is an apt title for William Cass’ deeply moving and accomplished collection of short fiction. There’s a stillness, an absorbing calm, at the heart of these graceful, gentle stories. Cass provides his readers the space to ponder and reflect along with his mostly male characters who relate as much to their environments as they do other people. . . . Pain and hope often cohabit the same narrative. Cass plumbs the complex depths of isolation and loneliness but also underscores the resilience of the human heart. —Kerry Langan, author of My Name Is Your Name & Other Stories and Live Your Life & Other Stories
The characters in William Cass's Uncommon & Other Stories are mortal beings striving to realize their humanity. In settings of landscape and place, these characters go about the business of finding a self—of compassion, forgiveness, empathy, discernment, and pursuit—that leans toward or consummates the better side of humanity's nature.—Sandra Fluck, The Write Launch