Two Minute Book Tour Review: Through A Dusty Window by Delancey Stewart

Friday, April 5, 2013
Title: Through A Dusty Window
Author: Delancey Stewart
Genre: historical fiction, short stories
Series: N/A
Pages: 95 (paperback edition)
Published: November 2012
Source: HFVBT for review
Rating: 4/5

New York City is a place full of whispers and ghosts. It is impossible to walk the sidewalks there without considering the lives and paths of those who walked them before; those who left their imprints – visible and hidden – on everything that makes up the city today. Through a Dusty Window is a collection of ten short stories spanning a century between 1910 and 2001, all of which take place in the same Upper West Side brownstone apartment. Through each vignette, readers are given perspective on historical events that deeply influenced the city, filtered and understood – or misunderstood – through the eyes of Stewart’s characters. From Prohibition to World War II; the Vietnam-era Summer of Sam killings to John Lennon’s murder – Stewart’s stories give modern day explorers a chance to see the city as it was, and to answer the question: who was here before me?

Comprised of ten short, but interesting tales, Through A Dusty Window is a compilation of various human experiences in one Upper West brownstone, on 77th Street. For ninety years, a parade of families, singles and couples pass through the doors of the apartment, most during famous of tumultuous times in New York's  history, and which have a direct impact on the story being featured. With an easy style and very readable prose, Delancey Stewart makes reading about each decade of the past century accessible and compelling, even for the stories that don't last ten pages.

With ten stories and less than one hundred pages, the frame of the novel is really more like a selected vignettes. There may not be an overall plot, or complete conflict, or total resolution, but these quick glimpses into 20's Prohibition, or the widows from the 1940's can still pack an emotional punch. Some stories are stronger than others (the earlier ones - 1910, 1925, 1936, and 1943) worked better for me than some of the later additions (1998, especially), with the exception of the 2001 story (Remembrance - also the only story told from the first-person POV). They all are atmospheric for their respective times, and touch on how life changes, and how it stays the same.

With keen, and subtle, insight into the various incidents and repercussions on New York life, Through A Dusty Window is a short but still compelling piece of fiction. Disparate, similiar - each story witnessed and lived out in the 77th street apartment has a new look at life in one of America, and the world's, most famous and loved cities. It's not all pretty, and it's not all bad, it's accurate and appropriate. Through multiple people and stories, the New York depicted in Through A Dusty Window emerges as much of a character as any of the people.

This may be a fast read, but almost everyone who reads it will find something, or someone, within its pages to relate to. Be it the loss of John Lennon, or the horrific events of 9/11 (and that story was probably the strongest and most emotional to read), or the harsh life of an immigrant, this is a collection of short stories that provides an encompassing look at life.

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Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, April 1
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, April 2
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, April 3
Review & Giveaway at The Bookworm
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, April 4
Guest Post at Jenny Loves to Read
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Friday, April 5
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Monday, April 8
Guest Post at Broken Teepee

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