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David Joseph
David Joseph Author Interview

The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories is a collection of impassioned short stories that follows various characters through their ordinary yet compelling lives. What were some sources of inspiration for you while writing these stories?

The primary source of inspiration was simply the experience I’ve had living in Spain, getting the opportunity to gain a sense of the history and culture and the people. Place provides such a powerful source of inspiration in general, and I think this only increased when I was immersed so completely in a culture different from the one I had been brought up in. It provided a real awakening of the senses, and I tried to be a keen observer as I worked to craft these stories.

Each of your characters were fascinating in their own way. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Thank you for your kind words. I am glad you found the characters in these stories interesting. If there is a driving ideal in these characters, I’d like to think that it’s rooted in their simplicity, their humanness, and the realistic nature of their personas. These characters aren’t superhuman or famous or overly powerful. In many ways, they are, well…somewhat ordinary. But they are also very much alive, which is extraordinary in its own right. They feel the weight of their own existence, and their relationships and interactions shape their own unique narratives, their own stories. I wanted to be able to explore the idea that stories don’t necessarily need an elaborate twist or a car chase or a bank robbery to be compelling. I suppose whether or not I’ve been successful in this regard is ultimately up to the reader. But it is my hope that the relationships the characters have with others (and with themselves) are moving, that their common interactions can be utterly revealing, and that the smallest moments can mean a great deal.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I would probably say the themes of loss and aging are probably most central to these stories. These things obviously have the potential to go together as we get older, and that is consistent with many of the characters in the book. But I think the theme of connection is also ever present in the book. The characters in this book seek connection—with their pasts, their futures, and, I think, with one another. Regardless of what they’ve lost, I’d like to think the stories maintain some degree of inspiration or hope.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The next book I am working on is a collection of stories entitled I Didn’t Know What To Say, So I Just Said Thanks, and I hope it will be out by the end of the year.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook

In this collection of stories on love and loss, hopes and dreams, and memory and regret, David Joseph’s prose resonates in an authentic and convincing manner.

His writing possesses an ability to convey real emotion through compelling, simple language, human interaction, and small moments. The collection, which is set in the Iberian Peninsula, carries the weight of the author’s sincerity throughout.

In an effort to bind us as humans, the characters in these stories experience extraordinary moments within the confines of ordinary lives.

The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories

The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories by [David Joseph]


The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories by David Joseph is a collection of fourteen short fiction stories that are set in cities in Spain and Portugal. The stories feature a variety of people, old and young, tourists, natives, and immigrants and range from 6-20 pages in length. Although the stories are about everyday life, special or tragic moments the characters experience are the true focus of the narrative. Several themes are used in multiple stories including death and loss, older characters watching the lives of young people and remembering when they were that age themselves, and being alone but not felling lonely.

This book had an interesting variety of stories that I enjoyed reading. The short stories were quick to get through, which made the book a fast read overall. I liked that I could read several stories in one sitting. Although some of the stories had similar themes, they did not seem repetitive because the characters were so varied. While I enjoyed the stories I felt that some of them were character driven stories, focusing on the characters routines, interactions and relationships, where I wanted to see a bit more focus on plot development.

Some of the stories were told in the first person point of view, while others were in third person, and several stories featured unnamed characters, often the narrator. I enjoyed reading the details of the characters lives and the descriptions of Spanish and Portuguese cities, landmarks, and coastlines; which to me is an exotic culture. I liked that the first story and last story both had old men in boats, which created a kind of symmetry to the book as a whole, however I didn’t prefer the narrative jump back and forth between old men rowing boats and Picasso’s painting Guernica. This made it feel a bit disjointed and disrupted the overall smooth flow of the story. Many of the stories did not end happily or were focused on past tragedies such as death, suicide, and abortion. But I felt that this was true to life, where happy endings are not always normal, and this kept the stories grounded rather than fanciful.

The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories is a thought-provoking collection of emotionally resonant stories that explore life in various seemingly prosaic moments that cumulatively have a profound impact on the reader.

Pages: 142 | ASIN:  B08T1Q4TPM

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