ECKLEBURG BOOK CLUB | The Stove-Junker by S.K. Kalsi

The Stove-Junker


In the winter of 2012, seventy-nine year old Somerset Garden travels back to his ancestral home in idyllic Drums, PA, to renovate his dilapidated house, and make peace with the past.

While a blizzard barrels down from the north and “Armageddon” draws closer, Somerset discovers a boy squatting on the property, a ghostly boy who forces him to confront his memories.

Will Somerset complete his winter project? Is the boy a ghost, the angel of death, or a hallucination triggered by his grief? Will Somerset have the courage to confront the role he played in his son’s disappearance thirty years before?

Part elegy, part history, part existential ghost tale, The Stove-Junker is a harrowing, lyrical meditation on loss, heartbreak, and the power of memory.


What People Are Saying about The Stove-Junker

“The Stove-Junker is an exquisitely rendered tale of loss, bitterness, redemption, and love. S.K. Kalsi’s writing is at once urgent and measured, lyrical and raw, biting and achingly tender. He is truly a master storyteller. This is a book to be savored. Red it, and don’t forget to breathe.” Dana Lee Shavin, author of The Body Tourist

“Here’s a writer who is going to give Cormac McCarthy a run for his money. The Stove-Junker is the kind of story that grabs you by the lapels and sears itself into your soul. The language and imagery are exquisite.” Cynthia Ceilan, author of Myths of a Merciful God

Powerful themes jostle one another in this book: the yearning for freedom, the need for self-actualization, failure to love, good vs. evil… a deep book [that] will trouble you long after you have read it… Great on so many levels… So well crafted” Nanette Tredoux, Psychologist and Educator


Publisher’s Information

  • PUBLISHER: Little Feather Books
  • ISBN: 978-0-9907790-6-3
  • DIMENSIONS: 6″ X 9″
  • PAGES: 333]
  • PRICE: $17.95
  • RELEASE DATE: 04/21/2015
  • PURCHASE HERE

  • Recommended Works by S.K. Kalsi

    Favorite Eckleburg Work: http://www.amazon.com/The-Doctor-Eckleburg-Review-No/dp/0989096408

    Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

    A modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt. The family house is in the small Far West town of Fingerbone set on a glacial lake, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck, and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. It is a town “chastened by an outsized landscape and extravagant weather, and chastened again by an awareness that the whole of human history had occurred elsewhere.” Ruth and Lucille’s struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transience. READ MORE


    Tinkers by Paul Harding

    An old man lies dying. Confined to bed in his living room, he sees the walls around him begin to collapse, the windows come loose from their sashes, and the ceiling plaster fall off in great chunks, showering him with a lifetime of debris: newspaper clippings, old photographs, wool jackets, rusty tools, and the mangled brass works of antique clocks. Soon, the clouds from the sky above plummet down on top of him, followed by the stars, till the black night covers him like a shroud. He is hallucinating, in death throes from cancer and kidney failure. A methodical repairer of clocks, he is now finally released from the usual constraints of time and memory to rejoin his father, an epileptic, itinerant peddler, whom he had lost seven decades before. In his return to the wonder and pain of his impoverished childhood in the backwoods of Maine, he recovers a natural world that is at once indifferent to man and inseparable from him, menacing and awe inspiring. Tinkers is about the legacy of consciousness and the porousness of identity from one generation to the next. At once heartbreaking and life affirming, it is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, and the fierce beauty of nature. READ MORE


    Discussion Questions for The Stove-Junker

    1. What does the crow signify in The Stove-Junker? How is it a metaphor for Somerset Garden’s present condition?

    2. What function does “Jack” serve in the story? Why did the author introduce “magical realism” elements in an otherwise realist narrative?

    3. How does Arman’s loss mirror or contrast with Somerset’s own losses? Given what we know about Somerset’s “tale telling” is he a reliable or unreliable narrator? Do you believe Somerset is really Armand or vice versa? What evidence is there that justifies this ambiguity?


    About S.K. Kalsi

    Influenced by poets, musicians, and philosophers, S.K. Kalsi crafts sentences that resonate with depth and power. In searing prose, he reveals the souls of loners and atheists, iconoclasts and dreamers, people turned inward by obsession, broken by love, souls shattered by loss.

    S.K. Kalsi holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of San Francisco, a BFA in creative writing from Long Beach State, and a diploma in screenwriting from UCLA. His short stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including The Gettysburg Review, Glint Literary Journal, The Criterion, among others. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He lives in Northern, CA.




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    In the winter of 2012, seventy-nine year old Somerset Garden travels back to his ancestral home in idyllic Drums, PA, to renovate his dilapidated house, and make peace with the past.

    While a blizzard barrels down from the north and “Armageddon” draws closer, Somerset discovers a boy squatting on the property, a ghostly boy who forces him to confront his memories.

    Will Somerset complete his winter project? Is the boy a ghost, the angel of death, or a hallucination triggered by his grief? Will Somerset have the courage to confront the role he played in his son’s disappearance thirty years before?

    Part elegy, part history, part existential ghost tale, The Stove-Junker is a harrowing, lyrical meditation on loss, heartbreak, and the power of memory.

    The Editors