H. Arlo Nimmo

Cultural anthropologist

Night Train and Other Stories

Night Train and Other Stories.  2017.  San Francisco: October Properties.

night-train-and-other-stories-coverNight Train and Other Stories is a collection of thirteen short stories told by an anthropologist narrator and set in locales around the world.  Among the characters and events appearing in the stories are a ship that mysteriously disappears in the South Pacific, a renowned anthropologist who finds her Shangri La in the New Guinea highlands, a middle-aged American couple who briefly discover enlightenment in India, a freighter ship that loses an unpopular passenger in the mid-Pacific, a quartet of passengers traveling by overnight train from Prague to Berlin, a Polynesian man from the South Pacific and his flirtation with America, an out-of-body experience on the Solo River in Java and a San Francisco New Year’s Eve party with an assortment of strangely quiet guests.  The stories cover a time span of approximately sixty years and some of them incorporate historical events such as the Battle of the Bulge, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Holocaust.

ISBN-10: 154246854X, 216 pages.

“As readers wind through Night Train and Other Stories, they come to realize that these vignettes are slices of life that transcend either autobiography or literature, presenting a relentless train ride through connections lost and found. These stories capture marvelous slices of life that depict the intersection between personal experience and lives changed by circumstance and political affairs. They chart solitary journeys, encounters with other cultures, small acts of kindnesses between strangers, and conundrums of survival, duty, and choice.With the relentless staccato progression of a rail ride, Night Train and Other Stories takes ordinary encounters and considers the roots of their happiness and sorrow, paralleling their lasting impact with past and present evolutionary processes. Readers of short stories who enjoy vignettes that pack in-the-moment emotion into deeper considerations of social justice and political affairs will find these well-seasoned stories just the ticket.” D. Donovan, Recommended Reading, Donovan’s Literary Services

“Night Train by H. Arlo Nimmo is a compilation of thirteen short stories written from an anthropologist’s perspective . . . about various characters in unusual and exotic locations. The stories take the reader through many eras and locales and show the views of those times in fascinating character studies. Explore the world from times gone by; the beginning of World War Two, a flash of the Seventies, and a small taste of the Holocaust. Experience the prejudice surrounding Germany a year after The Wall came down. Travel the high seas with a writer and solve the mysterious disappearance of an abusive old man on a freighter. With many adventures and colorful locations, this book takes the reader on the journey of a lifetime . . . I liked how the stories focused on either a particular person or situation; by the end of the story the reader has learned something new. I found these stories to be more of life or human studies than just short story fiction. Each chapter has the reader peeling back another layer of understanding into humanity. I could easily see this book being used as a teaching tool, although, I must warn the reader that there is some subject matter that isn’t appropriate for children under eighteen due to some explicit LGBTQ content. I would recommend this book to those that are interested in anthropology and historical fiction.” Reviewed By Alyssa Elmore for Readers’ Favorite

“Night Train and Other Stories is a collection of short stories . . . narrated by an anthropologist as he travels throughout the world . . . Each tale in this marvelous collection is a treat to read . . . Night Train and Other Stories offers brief, beguiling and timeless looks into other cultures as well as into those oddities that are still inherent in what is considered the ‘dominant’ culture, all seen dispassionately by the anthropologist and shared minutely with his audience. I found mystery, adventure and romance hidden within these pages, and even caught a few glimpses of the spirit behind the writing.” Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

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