Here’s the set-up for Steve Silkin’s The Telescope Builder, just 99 Cents on Kindle:
A collection of 15 short stories about coming of age “in California in the 1970s … drugs, sex, family break-up, teen suicide … all told in a minimalistic style that in all reality belongs to the teenage male.”
From the book: “I had just moved to a new neighborhood freshly carved out of a hillside on the western edge of the San Fernando Valley.
My junior high was named after George Ellery Hale, the man who built the telescope that unveiled the secrets of the universe. I’ve thought about Hale over the years, the man, his telescope, the school named after him and the students and teachers I knew there. It was in those days that a body was dumped up the street from my house. Then there was the kid who went home from school one day and shot himself in the head. And then there was the classmate I admired who later got addicted to crack and died of exposure sleeping on a downtown street. I’ve thought about it all a lot.
“It must mean something. It must.”
From the reviewers:
Jonathan Penton, editor of Unlikely Stories, says: “He sets up his characters, reveals the situation and then tears through your consciousness like a bullet. His stories tell tales of lessons learned in the most agonizing possible ways, traumas that leave scars on the flesh and minds of their victims … Chilling and direct.”
At once a celebration of young adulthood and list of regrets over misspent youth, these tales depict rites of passage, from young love to misadventure, and other universal moments of adolescent angst and euphoria that help forge who we become as adults. Growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the 60s and 70s, the setting for this book, I was drawn in by the sense of time and place and subsequently discovered crisply written prose, well-drawn characters and the recounting of everything from the ridiculous to the sublime. – “Book Guy”
There is something about a youthful narrative that always ropes me in. It could be my early exposure to the genius of Harper Lee and J.D. Salinger, or more directly (and more likely), the honest optimism I find in such a voice. A gallery of high school recollections, ‘Telescope Builder’ focuses on not one particular event or even any life-changing moments. It is simpler than that. Our twelve year old narrator is the new kid at George Ellery Hale Junior High, going through the obligatory adjusting and social shuffling of evey new high school student the world over. In the subsequent chapters we are treated to a candid look at school days in California in the 1970s … drugs, sex, family break-up, teen suicide … all told in a minimalistic style that in all reality belongs to the teenage male. – Joanne David
Steve Silkin was born in New York, grew up in Los Angeles, then traveled across Europe. He once escaped arrest for trespassing at a skyscraper under construction by fleeing from the LAPD on his bicycle.
And here, in the comfort of your own browser, is your free sample of THE TELESCOPE BUILDER by Steve Silkin: