The Absent Traveler: A Novella and Other Stories
by Randall DeVallance
Fiction, Trade Paperback Original
5 x 8 in / 186 pages
Publication Date: December 2010
Charles Lime eats, breathes, and sleeps the romantic idea of leaving Small Town USA, wandering the globe, and “having grand adventures laced with the danger and lustiness of exotic climes.” In reality, Charles, a 20-something college graduate, walks the drab city streets of Western Pennsylvania, dazed and bemused–a dreamy misfit bewitched by a girl and bewildered by a string of misfortunes.
These wakeup calls are harsher than the customary dose of Dad’s verbal assaults, the drunken landlady’s late-night sexual harassment, and the apocalyptic messages of a pamphlet-pushing, religious zealot. If someone has the right to fall off the deep end, it’s Charles Lime. And so he chooses to retreat further into his imagination where he creates a parallel life filled with overseas travel, adventure and Serbian pop music. To say Charles finds solace in fantasizing about escape is an understatement. Chronic thoughtlessness defines his whole existence and his departure via mind travel is his panacea.
Readers who like to escape reality will find a soul mate in Charles Lime. As author Randall DeVallance describes it: “For people like Charles, it should be said, the idea is always more powerful than reality.”
Praise for The Absent Traveler
“The appearance of this fully mature novella (accompanied by eight superb short stories) is sure to place this young writer in an upward direction career-wise. This is prose at its finest, startlingly well sculpted and completely compelling…This is brilliant writing!”
-Grady Harp, Amazon.com Top Reviewer
“This novella simply exudes talent from its pages…Charles Lime will become very “real” to the reader, something that doesn’t happen often in a work of this sort. His character is so well developed I felt like he was some poor, tortured soul I’ve met in my travels somewhere in a Best Buy or Wal-Mart where well educated people like Charles often find themselves replacing their lives with drudgery in exchange for a few beers and an occasional package of cookies.”
-Deb Fowler, National Book Critics Circle member and Amazon.com Top Reviewer
“The ending will give the reader much pause for thought and the final outcome you will have to determine for yourself… [These are] stories that really make the reader think and will definitely elicit much discussion and varied viewpoints. Great for book clubs and discussion groups.”
-Fran Lewis, book reviewer and author of My Name Is Bertha, Bertha Speaks Out, and Bertha Fights Back
“[DeVallance's characters are] distinct, interesting, and realistic…[his] writing is easy to read, artful…”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Randall DeVallance is the author of the short novel, Dive (2004), and the short-story collection, Sketches of Invalids (2007). His stories have appeared in several anthologies and more than 30 print and online publications including McSweeney’s, Pindeldyboz, Eyeshot, Vestal Review, and Word Riot. He lives in New York City.