A Working Man’s Apocrypha


William Luvaas weaves magic and absurdity around characters caught between apocalypse and heartbreak. Deftly spinning unpredictable plots in these fourteen stories, Luvaas conveys the joys and misfortunes of characters tested by trauma or loss, who regularly find unexpected opportunities for survival. Common to all of these tales is a sense of something longed for…just out of reach. Hyperbole is a common refrain, suggesting that inexplicable forces are at work behind human fate.

Nature runs amok in stories like “Season of Limb Fall” and “Yesterday After the Storm,” wherein a tornado whirls away a man’s wife and daughter, Big and Little Lilly, and all hell breaks loose when they return midway into his ensuing love affair. In “Rain,” flood survivors in California’s coastal range build makeshift arks in anticipation of the world’s watery end. After her diabetic handyman’s suicide in the collection’s title story, Louise finds John Sylvio’s haunting, nearly illiterate diary which documents his unrequited love for her, and she is ambushed by love and loss. A son reconciles with his disapproving father who is fading into Alzheimer’s in “To The Death.”

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Praise for A Working Man’s Apocrypha:

I was moved and utterly convinced by such narratives as William Luvaas’s Carpentry, with its mordant wit and unexpected ending.”
– Joyce Carol Oates, Introduction to
American Fiction, Vol. 9

This collection displays notable strengths, sweet rendering of unexpected and unspoken love; humble work precisely described; compressed, believable dialogue; and humor. An absorbing collection by a writer to keep your eye on.”
– Edith Pearlman, author of
Binocular Vision and How To Fall

William Luvaas shows a sophistication and honesty in his writing that is both rare and engaging. His work tracks beneath the glamour and the grit of his characters’ lives to arrive at fresh destinations of perception.”
– Martin Tucker, Editor of

 “Luvaas’s stories inform us of mortal wounds while fascinating us with the instruments of character and fate that inflict them. An excellent read.”
William Pitt Root, author of Fault Dancing and White Boots: New and Selected Poems of the West

A Master of metaphor, of character and imagination, Luvaas takes the reader on odysseys every bit as compelling as those of Gabriel Garcia Marquez or J.M. Coetzee. I was enchanted and moved by these stories, some of which are bound to become classics.”
Pamela Uschuk, American Book Award winning author of Peaches in the Desert

Mr. Luvaas’s poetic prose is magic–it drew me immediately into the world of “Rain,” before the first drop fell, and then it held me captive to the chilling end. This is writing at its best!”
Virginia Howard, Editor of Thema

The Story’s power comes from the rigor of the incisive images and the powerful braided structure of two voices overlapping one another…You are gripped by the searing journey through human minds and hearts.”
Meredith Sue Wills, author & Editor of Epiphany [Commenting on “To The Death.”]

A Working Man’s Apocrypha –
Short Stories
‘In these brilliant stories, many set in that oddly named region of Southern California, the Inland Empire (“Mount San Gorgonio to the north, the San Jacintos due east, fractured, faceted with severe late afternoon light”), laws of nature are often broken. Floods, tornadoes and other disasters inspire varied means of survival; death sparks new relationships. A brother and sister, twins, remember how they drifted apart. An artist recalls the practical wisdom of a man who worked for her: ‘Nayls go in coffee cans’ and ‘Don’t trust brite moonlyt nun thatl mess you up evrah time you don’t wach yoresef. It cud make a dam dum crippuled up dibettuck want to go dansing.’”
Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Book Review

In this short story collection, tornados real and metaphorical rip through the lives of not-so-ordinary people, flinging them into unexpected intimacies and tearing away identities once thought airtight. Luvaas’ poetic prose is powerful as the Santa Ana winds yet delicate enough to limn the silences that speak louder than words, as in the title story, where the bond between a widow and her dying handyman is too profound to risk actual words of love.”
Jendi Reiter, WINNING WRITERS WEBSITE www.winningwriters.com

“He (Luvaas) truly gets how connected people can be, how a person’s emotions are tied inextricably to their intimates, whether lovers, friends or family; how people joust, banter, joke and tease, pushing and pulling, claiming their space….

“I could make the rest of this introduction an anthology of my favorite parts of this book, the original use of language, how Bill makes characters explicitly specific, utterly colloquial, yet never cliched, how he uses phrases like “whumped it flat,” describes the day-to-day difficulties of living as “life’s pesterups,” or a violent occurrence as taking place in “a few thick seconds,” but we’d be here all night, as that covers exactly one page. Especially in the two stories that to me make up the heart of the collection, “The Woman Who Was Allergic to Herself” and the towering and devastating title story, Bill is determined to grant each character their full humanity, their full dignity, even when their circumstances would make most of us turn away from the pain and struggle, and if they were happening to us, to surrender…And conversely, our main characters are returned to a piece of themselves…in these brilliant, funny, heart-breaking stories.”
– Glenn Raucher, Introduction to a reading at The Writers Voice in New York