Once Upon a Decade: Tales of the Fifties

Once Upon a Decade: Tales of the Fifties

ABOUT Clark Zlotchew

Clark Zlotchew
Zlotchew is the published author of 17 books, only three of which are his own fiction.  His collection of short stories, Once Upon a Decade: Tales of the Fifties,  was Finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, short-story category, 2011. Zlotchew is also a literary critic o More...




     A man with a tortured psyche keeps a pink teddy bear on his food tray as he watches the Olympics on television.   A waitress in New Jersey puts a curse on a sailor; his behavior becomes  increasingly  irrational.  Two shipmates   learn first hand about segregation in 1950s Savannah.  A timid adolescent suffers the pangs of unrequited love.   A sailor who wants no more complications in his life falls in love with a young prostitute in Cuba on the eve of the Castro Revolution.  An academic meets Jorge Luis Borges and uncovers the mystery of an American writer with three different names.  The seventeen narratives of this collection  deal with love and death, triumphs and defeats, adolescent angst and the tension between ethnicity and assimilation against the background of the 1950s.  Some present adventure on the high seas as well as a glimpse of Havana night life on the eve of the Castro Revolution.    

The 1950s was a world in some ways more cruel, more demanding, less forgiving.  In other ways it was safer, more secure, more comfortable.  It certainly was different from the present.  Yet, our basic nature has remained unchanged since humans became humans.  The deepest of needs, beyond basic sustenance –love, sex, respect, self-esteem, power— always lie just below the surface as motivating forces.  It is only the physical, political, social and moral strictures --fleeting conditions that channel those primary drives-- that change.