Round Mountain: Twelve Stories

 round mountain, castle freeman jr

Introduction by Pinckney Benedict

Concord, MA, The Concord Free Press (2012)

182 pages  Paperback

ISBN: 978-0-9847078-2-9

Published by The Concord Free Press in partnership with The Eastman Kodak Co. Distributed at no cost through and selected independent booksellers.

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Twelve stories, interrelated by time, characters, events, and themes and set in a rural community in Vermont. Central to the stories is the unlikely friendship of  Homer Patch, handyman, sometime town constable, sometime deputy sheriff, and Clayton Makepeace, a figure from the larger world whose connection to the place, and to Homer, dates back to their youth and who is now in declining health and retired to the town. Through exploring the relationship of these two men and the interplay of other characters with and around them, the stories give the reader a complex and sympathetic understanding of the principals, their lives, and their setting.



As soon as Makepeace shut the door of his truck he knew he didn’t want to go around and look in the back, and in that instant—a second, less than a second—there leapt up before him the whole damnable affair complete, its stupidity, its pain, its threat to his precarious rehabilitation: the missing saw, the ratlike kid, the down tailgate, Homer Patch and his whore of a wife and their poor, unfinished boy (named? . . . named?). The entire business reared up in his path like a horrid weed, root, stalk and flower—doubt, insult, memory. (“Charity Suffers Long”)


“How luxuriant is the accretion of character details across these dozen stories! And how polished the stories are, without ever being cold. How quiet without ever (not for a moment) turning dull. How dry, how droll without any sacrifice of seriousness. How tragic, without ever indulging in maudlin or manipulative emotion. . . . The world of Round Mountain seems, on first blush, quite small; but it is in truth vast and glorious, filled with fear and awe.

“It is a world that, once you have entered it, you will not want to leave, and that you will never forget.”—from the Introduction by Pinckney Benedict