The Penny Garden



The Penny Garden
, Congemi’s fifth collection of short stories, a sequel to his previous quartet of stories, are mostly short short stories, though they continue to present his overriding literary outlook, themes and formats. For Congemi, life is Absurd and can be cruel, but it also provides healing insight and its expression in literary art. He continues to believe in the value of short fiction for our times, fiction providing immediate meaning and at times at its best an intimation of scripture. In this regard, such stories as Congemi’s “Baby Doll,” “Candy’s FinalExam,” and “Salon de Beaute” highlight personal cruelties, while “Afterwards,” “The Night of Chekhov’s Dying” and “Amber and Danielle” depict existential suffering. On the other hand, the power of art is celebrated in such stories as “Meeting the Poet,” “Backyard Barbeque” and “The Gauguin Exhibit,” while a measure of heroism or happiness is shown in “Danny Boy,” “The Russian Weight Lifter” and “Pop’s Millennium.”