short stories by Robert N. Friedland
This collection of stories, many previously published in highly regarded literary magazines, deals, primarily, with the common experience of loss, be it love or some other form of human currency or value. What is uncommon, however, is how we are able to enter the hearts and minds of the men and women while they are grappling with their own extraordinary destinies.
The stories are set in contemporary, or near contemporary, Canada, although several of these stories are set, at least in part, in Japan, China, Vietnam, Western Europe and the United States.
You will meet a woman gangster from Shanghai, who wins a Vancouver lawyer in a high stakes game of Mah Jongg; a Wyoming fisherman who loses a pocket-knife, but discovers something of greater value; an American army sergeant from Brooklyn who refuses to shoot a looter; two sisters from Yokohama, and the very different choices they made; an Alberta sheriff and the stripper who invited him to dance; and others.
I have forgotten whether Mireille's room was on the sixth or seventh floor of the ancient walk-up apartment house at 7, rue Saint-Martin. It really doesn't matter. She was a small Norman woman from Urville Bocage, but I had met her in Paris in 1970. My friend and I had introduced ourselves to Mireille and her friend at a café near the Louvre.
Mireille's single room served as a kitchen, living room and bedroom. The loo was in the hall. Beneath her bed she kept a large stone crock of cherries soaked in calvados, the fiery distilled apple spirits of her native Normandy.
Our actual acquaintance was brief–a month in the summer, and another in December of 1970. George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" was topping the charts, and Mireille, who was nine years my senior, called me "my sweet lord" and "Robert, you clever boy." Truth to say, in 1970, I was, in many ways, still a boy.
Mireille cooked splendid French meals for me on a tiny hot plate and, through the small dormer window of her room, pointed out the hermaphrodite gargoyle on the cathedral across the street. That was the year that it snowed in Paris before Christmas, pure white flakes the size of silver dollars, dissolving like fallen angels into the black waters of the Seine. Mireille asked me not to leave for North America before Christmas, but I did. I took a cab to Orly on Christmas Eve and flew to New York on an almost empty 747.
She wrote me many love letters, and I wrote back. She asked me to come to live with her on her father's farm in Normandy and raise, "a half a dozen of cows." In one letter, written from that farm, she enclosed a pressed violet flower.
- "Faded Love" longlisted for the ReLit Awards
ReLit Awards – Sep 1, 2011
- Bob Friedland's interview on Omni TV
Libros Libertad – Nov 25, 2010
- Faded Love to be published in China
Libros Libertad – Nov 9, 2010
- Review: Faded Love
Prairie Fire Review of Books – Oct 15, 2010
- A Slice of Life
Golden River Record – Mar 22, 2010
- Writing of loves, lives past
Jewish Independent – Jan 15, 2010
- Bob Friedland to launch new book in BC
Libros Libertad – Jan 6, 2010
- "Send Lawyers, Guns and Money"
The Broadkill Review – Dec 30, 2009
– Howie Siegel
About the Author
Born in New York City in 1947, Robert N. Friedland has been the Sheriff of a Judicial District; an investigator for the United States Treasury Department; a Regional Director of the Alberta Human Rights Commission; Human Rights Advisor for Malaspina University-College; a two-term City Councillor in Victoria, British Columbia; and, Chief Lawyer for a group of seven First Nations in the Interior of British Columbia. He currently practices human rights and administrative law in Vancouver, British Columbia.
He is a widely published commentator on the international, Canadian, and British Columbian political scene.
His stories and short fiction have been published in the United States, Canada, England, and Japan in: The Fiddlehead (Canada); NeWest Review (Canada); CBC Radio,(Alberta Anthology, Edmonton On Stage, Vinyl Cafe); Raw Fiction (Canada); Stand (United Kingdom); The Petroleum Independent (U.S.A.); Entre Nous (U.S.A.); The Casper Journal (U.S.A.); The Abiko Literary Quarterly (Japan); CITR FM, the University of British Columbia's FM radio station (Canada); and, The Broadkill Review (U.S.A.).
"What a compelling collection of stories! ...the poignancy and passion of Love, shared and unshared, of Loss, profound and less profound, all expressed with honesty and vulnerability from a male perspective. West and East... sometimes the twain do meet! Oil and Water... sometimes the two do mix!"
– Donna Wong-Juliani
"R. N. Friedland's work always surprises. A craftsman who is immediately engaging, Friedland is at home in the middle of a west-coast Tong War or a nineteenth century New England whaling metropolis."
– Jamie Brown
editor, The Broadkill Review
"Friedland has crafted an exquisite collection of short stories. Each tale in Faded Love is achingly infused with a longing, a poignance, a sense of the curious admixture of soul and soil, of spirit and matter that together make this existence so bittersweetly beautiful. There's a jolting honesty in these stories, a spare prose style that keeps unnecessary words out of the way of necessary insights and emotions. In short, Canada has gifted the world with yet another brilliant short story writer. More Mr. Friedland, more!"
– R.G. Morse
author, The Naked Mountain