Critiques

Review Excerpts:

Booklist:
"The time-honored art of storytelling revives in Heynen's country vignettes. His earthy wit, deadpan deviltry and lover for the eccentric prod the unique character locked inside everyday people. Marvel at these come-along riddles, come-uppances, leg-pullers, fables, tricks and surprises, sad secrets and tall tales, these bawdy down-on-the-farm read alouds."

Coevolution Quarterly:
"The Boys in THE MAN WHO KEPT CIGARS IN HIS CAP move through their families and community, bearing witness and generating changes . . . (They have) the stuff of stories worth listening to. Based as these stories are on experiences and responses occurring anywhere at anytime, they resemble legends more than anything. And these legends won't age."

The Northwest Review:
"The magical quality of THE MAN WHO KEPT CIGARS IN HIS CAP is in the way Heynen makes the ordinary remarkable, the way he carefully removes the boundary between realism and fantasy."

Minnesota Daily:
"Heynen's boys--intuitive, numberless, harmless--wander about in the neighborhood of insight and revelation and provide the vision necessary for discovery, for the brief, precise epiphany that each story works on us."

The Ohio Review:
"The refreshment of these tales comes from their isolation in the author's imagination and by his stringent selection of details."

Poet and Critic:
"Every so often a window gets opened, and a breeze whips through that rumples our hair and scatters all the papers. That's the kind of book Jim Heynen' THE MAN WHO KEPT CIGARS IN HIS CAP is. It's a fresh wind that blows everybody some good. It's a wisdom book, a joke book, a book of home remedies. An anthology of tall tales. A collection of lore, of practical advice. It's a book of parables, anecdotes, myths, an almanac, a family album."

Sipapu:
These stories are, each one, a delight--messy, earthy, wonderful tales . . . If someone would send us a book like this every week, we'd come out every month and do nothing but reviews."

The Pilot (North Carolina):
"This is a book about a world made again in language symbolic and grotesque, deep in its evocation of farm life transformed into myth."

Individual comments:
"Story after story is a wonderful narrative with a wonderful luminous quality to each of them." Donald Hall

"These fables--often charming, often unsettling, sometimes bitter--do not go easily out of mind . . . Some have a fine whimsy, while some have the genuine authority of folk tales. Some are strongly didactic, while others portray the state of things as pointedly as a piece by Chekhov." Fred Chappell

"Jim Heynen's little stories hold an abundance of good will and human feeling. They are set in a small rural area of the Midwest, but they're regional in the way WINESBURG, OHIO is regional. He puts me in mind of Sherwood Anderson. Brautigan too, when Richard's at his best. But these stories are quite different than anything I've ever read. They are little news items of the human spirit." Raymond Carver

"In Jim Heynen's stories, 'The Farm' is a universe of myth--along the paths from the barn to the kitchen, from the front porch to church, lurk irreducible suchnesses. These archetypal moments are fresh as a bucket of cold water--as transparent and refreshing." Gary Snyder.



-- jh