Stories of My Life
John J. Clayton
This book begins describing the onset of Parkinson's, the arrival of the dark unexpected. In a Monty Python skit, someone is nagged by questions. “I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition,” he complains. Suddenly Michael Palin, in red 16th century costume, bursts into the room. “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!” he shrieks. Who expects the onset of Parkinson's? Or cancer? Or stroke? Or the loss of a child? The terrible surprise isn't limited to Parkinson's. It's the existential condition of everyone's life. In fourteen sketches, John J. Clayton links the experience of PD with the experience of childhood sickness, family battles, the struggle to make a good life out of a painful life.
JOHN J. CLAYTON has published nine volumes of fiction, both novels and short stories. His collection of interwoven short stories, Minyan, was published in September 2016, his collection Many Seconds into the Future in 2014. Mitzvah Man, his fourth novel, appeared in 2011. Clayton’s stories have appeared in AGNI, Virginia Quarterly Review, TriQuarterly, Sewanee Review, over twenty times in Commentary; in Kerem, Conjunctions, Notre Dame Review, Missouri Review and The Journal. Stories have been published recently in MQR and Missouri Review. His stories have won prizes in O.Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. His collection Radiance was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. Clayton grew up in New York; received his B.A. at Columbia, his M.A. at NYU, his PhD at Indiana. He taught modern literature and fiction writing as professor and then Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has also written two books of literary criticism: Saul Bellow: In Defense of Man and Gestures of Healing, a psychological study of the modern novel