5 Star Review
These twenty stories and twelve sonnets by award-winning author Ted Morrissey are collected here for the first time. Arranged chronologically, they trace his literary evolution over the course of four decades, beginning in the early 1990s and including work produced within the last few years. Among the earliest stories are "Fische Stories" (published in Glimmer Train Stories) and "Mix" (Paris Transcontinental); transitional stories include "Communion with the Dead" (The Chariton Review) and "Melvill in the Marquesas" (the opening section of his novella Weeping with an Ancient God, named a Best Book of 2015 by Chicago Book Review); and there are three previously uncollected Crowsong stories, extensions of his multi-award-winning 2017 novel Crowsong for the Stricken (which Kirkus Reviews called "strange and beautiful" in a starred review). The sonnets are his Laertes Sonnet Sequence (appearing in such journals as Bellevue Literary Review and Prime Number Magazine), written in apostrophe to his father Vince, who passed away suddenly in 2012. The collection begins with the author's newly written introduction "Delta of Cassiopeia" in which he shares lessons learned from a lifetime of writing as well as anecdotes about some of the collected material. The introduction also discusses the state of the publishing industry and the reasons why most writers have difficulty establishing a devoted readership.
Book Editorial Review
by Leslie Obrien
I have a huge love for anthologies. Whether one author or many, I’m always down for a collection of short stories, often built around a central theme. In Ted Morrissey’s “Delta of Cassiopeia”, we are treated to a selection of his own collect stories in this 2023 anthology, which comprises some 20 stories and 12 sonnets arranged in chronological order and encompassing his literary growth over the past 40ish years.
What initially appealed to me about this book is the author’s frank comments in his intro as he talks about his growth as a writer, the trials of finding and working with a publisher versus the freedom that can come with being an indie author, which he ultimately does with Twelve Winters Press. And I really enjoyed reading about his feelings on the publishing industry as a whole. And I had to laugh and agree that he’s probably the only writer to ever receive a rejection and an acceptance for the same project, from the same publisher, ON the same day. Well done there.
The stories themselves are delightful. Mr. Morrissey’s love of language is obvious. They read to me like something I’d hear at a reading. Engaging and with the right amount of detail to keep my interest. Given what (or who) some of these stories are based on, they served as a lovely reminder of some of my favorite stories that I read growing up. And if I were to be so bold, there are a few mid-20th century authors I’d compare these stories to, one of whom is Harper Lee and another, is Truman Capote. There’s a certain wholesomeness to the stories that kept me reading and they really are quite enjoyable.
On the negative side, for me, I will say that I found Mr. Morrissey’s choice of a more simplistic book format to be… difficult. Having read through these stories on both my Kindle and using the Kindle app on my PC, as someone who is visually impaired, I found the book to be difficult to navigate at times. There were odd line breaks that didn’t seem to vary no matter how I viewed the file (mostly with the sonnets) and the lack of a table of contents and adequate search function was bad on my eyes. While it might work for his “vision” it’s not particularly inclusive for readers with disabilities. However, my issue with the format isn’t reflected in my rating as I kept that to the words themselves.
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About Ted Morrissey
Ted Morrissey (b. 1962) is an award-winning author who lives near Springfield, Illinois. Recent novels include Crowsong for the Stricken (International Book Award and American Fiction Award), Mrs Saville (Manhattan Book Award), and The Artist Spoke. His collection, First Kings and Other Stories, was released in 2020. In addition to fiction, he has also published several books of scholarship. His novel excerpts, short stories, poems, essays and reviews have appeared in more than 80 publications.