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Location: Baltimore-DC Area

Author who writes for a living and lives for writing. // WOMB: a novel in utero (Merge Publishing 2017) // TRACKS: A Novel in Stories (Atticus Books 2011) // FLIGHTLESS GOOSE, a storybook for children (Writers Lair Books 2008) // www.EricDGoodman.com

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

2011 Review in Reviews

Many blogs and websites share a “year in review,” and others share reviews. But how about an annual review of reviews?

Tracks gathered a few reviews in 2011, and has even started the new year off with one.

Here is a look back at some of the reviews and coverage Tracks received in 2011 …



New York Journal of Books:“… Goodman is a born storyteller who weaves his tales of each individual character, and then ties them together to create a finely patterned cloth … you have the more transcendent experience of seeing each of the characters from many perspectives, at times understanding not only their “now” but something of their past and future. “Many of the reviews written of this book point out that it’s a great summer read. This is true. It’s the kind of book that you can read best at a leisurely pace, enjoying the slower rhythms of this literary ‘people watching.’”


ForeWord Magazine:“Like a collection of one-act plays, each scene is a tightly scripted vignette highlighting the life of a single character. And while each chapter of the novel is a standalone story, characters have roles to play in several. “The author has a knack for easily and quickly evoking a sense of place, here deftly describing the seasonal life in Baltimore's Inner Harbor: "In the humid days of summer, descending from the hill into the harbor was like sinking into a familiar hot tub."“The literary device of having the principal characters launched on a journey is well established, calling to mind examples as divergent as Chaucer and Zane Gray. If not done well it can be a cliche. Goodman handles the device deftly and the result is a compelling novel.”


Broken Pencil:“Each brief chapter explores the perspective of a different passenger, while a major character in one story might reappear as a bit player in the next. One woman's back tattoo is gawked at by the male passengers on board and, seen through their lustful eyes, she acquires an unflattering reputation for most of the book until her own tale is told. Another character deals with the sudden death of a nearby rider, who moments earlier (as only the reader knows) experienced a major change of heart."Once everyone's introduced, the real fun begins. Two characters drunkenly end up in a cabin together, while on the other end of the train a cat-and-mouse game breaks out between a runaway mob member and his pursuing hit man. At times, Tracks feels like an episode of The Sopranos on VIA Rail, particularly since the mafia story arc - the one Goodman spends most of the novel crafting - is by far the highlight. "... the writing makes for a great ride."_


JMWW:“… a fascinating cast of characters … Goodman’s voice is gentle as he explores motivations and interactions. The scenes in these stories expand to include all kinds of human fears and sorrows, regrets and grateful joys.“Managing a large cast of characters is not an easy task, but one that Goodman accomplishes with ease. The characters interact throughout, creating a seamless narrative out of their different tales.“Tensions mount as inner and outer conflicts come into play. Incidents from each story increasingly affect the outcome of the others, as the connections between the characters, however transitory, become stronger."



Midwest Book Review"The overarching story of life is forged by many stories. "Tracks" is a series of short stories crafted by Eric D. Goodman as he brings together a novel forged from these smaller tales. With a unique concept and entertaining writing about a passenger train going to Chicago from Baltimore, "Tracks" is quite a fascinating and recommended read."


The Writer Magazine:“... irresistible … Count me in.”


Baltimore Jewish Times:Must Read Section"Goodman’s break-out novel, follows a group of eclectic characters on a long train ride from Baltimore to Chicago. Goodman expertly weaves the characters in and out of each story. "In addition to its structural genius, “Tracks” boasts a creative cast of characters, including a young American soldier, a woman mourning her parents, a computer-geek-turned-activist and his would-be assassin, an elderly Holocaust survivor, a sleazy traveling salesman, a young woman distracted by a recent breakup, and an adulterous woman with a prominent tattoo."... Goodman manages to work plenty of action into the slow-moving train ..."Throughout, Goodman’s voice is observant and authoritative. He draws the reader’s attention to rich details, providing a glimpse into the lives of each character. Baltimore natives will especially love Goodman’s descriptions of local scenery and architecture, but the story can captivate any interested reader."


The Nervous Breakdown:“Goodman’s prose feels inspired by this same romance of trains that tinges the book. He is a natural storyteller, one who takes time in unfurling these lives, showing us things we wouldn’t see from the highway of grocery-store fiction. In an age of high-speed internet, Facebook lives and thoughts that only last 140 characters, it’s refreshing to see a book with such unhurried attention to character. In the same way that train rides make time seem liquid, maybe non-existent, the narrative-time of Tracks bends and contorts to encompass large swatches of the characters’ lives."... another nice touch by Goodman, this constant reevaluation of characters after being observed in later stories. In the same way trains cars rock and sway, our perception of earlier characters—the old and rigid Prewitt, the immature Malcolm and Tina, the woman (Demi) whose tattoo snares the lascivious attention of most men on the train—sways with each successive story. Who we thought the characters were from observation isn’t exactly who they are once we’re inside their head."Like a train-ride itself, it’s not the arrival at the other station that’s the important part. It’s all of the things you see, people like the characters in Tracks who you meet along the way. They stay in your head, long after the final page is turned."_


Washington Independent Review of Books:“… Goodman writes with an appealing directness and attention to detail. The strongest vignettes drew me into the characters’ experiences even when they happened long in the past. "The best vignette ... is that of a young soldier on leave from fighting in Afghanistan. He has just lost his girlfriend because he refused her pleas to leave the Army and repudiate the war. Now he is filled with sadness and confusion about the country and the cause for which he is fighting. Goodman’s war scenes, including the deaths of the soldier’s two closest friends, are gripping ..."


Erin Reads:"I've never read anything quite like Tracks."The way Goodman subtly shifts back a few hours or jumps ahead a little in time has the neat effect of creating that sort of discombobulated feeling you get while traveling on long-distance public transportation, that sense that you’re somehow apart from the outside world, in transition, as you make your way from one place to another. Very effective. "Goodman also lets his characters observe one another. With each new story the reader experiences, another piece of the puzzle falls into place. The next time a character visits the lounge car or passes someone in the aisle, there is an ever greater chance of it being someone we’ve already met, one of the stories we’ve already read. This casual layering of perspectives is extremely well done and rather delightful to experience."... my favorite part of Tracks was how it makes you realize everyone has a story. Each story would have worked on its own, but together, linked by the thin thread of the train, they amount to something bigger than the sum of the parts. Goodman accomplished this masterfully in Tracks."


Booked Up:“I was so drawn to some of the characters and could entirely identify with the situations they were dealing with. Others who fall way outside anything I know were well depicted ..."It was interesting to see how different travelers were dealing with similar situations in very different ways, and to see how brief encounters could impact on their lives."I loved this book, the subject matter and the style, unfussy yet beautiful. Well worth a read!"


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San Francisco Book Review:The author shares his experience of working with an agent and publisher on changes to Tracks.


Three Guys One Book “The novel follows the stories of the passengers on a train from Baltimore to Chicago, breaking into their lives, both real and as imagined by the other passengers, skillfully and subtly intertwining their tales. It’s good stuff and you can read two of the chapters here."


Portsmouth Daily Times:“Goodman’s novel-in-stories has been described as a “Tarantino-style ‘Love Actually’ meets literary fiction.” The book follows a group of characters on a train from Baltimore to Chicago, interweaving their experiences as each story spotlights the viewpoint of a character. The major character in one story becoming a minor character in another, almost like living in a small town. Goodman said that, in a way, his experiences here in Portsmouth helped to influence his latest book."Read more: Portsmouth Daily Times - Author gets his start at Shawnee State


York Daily Record / Sunday News:“When Goodman watches a movie or reads a book, he always wants to know more about the side characters. Writing a novel in intertwined stories seemed like the ideal way to learn more about different characters. Gathering an eclectic group of passengers -- which includes a salesman, a soldier, a former mobster and a Holocaust survivor -- also meant Goodman could have darker and lighter stories mixed together in one book."Read more: York Daily Record / Sunday News - Train passengers' stories become a novel


Maryland Life:Summer Reading List "Climb aboard this compilation of stories set on a train from Baltimore to Chicago."


Baltimore Jewish Times:(Interview in the "Exclusively in Print" section)"BJT: Why did you choose to include a Holocaust survivor as one of your characters?"Goodman: Five or six years ago, I went to the National Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C., and I just remember it was such an emotional experience. I had read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies about the Holocaust, but this had such an effect on me. Riding home on the MARC train, I was already writing notes and thinking about how I could include this in a story. I visited the museum several more times to really submerge myself in it as I was writing. I think "Live Cargo," the story that came out of it, is probably one of the more powerful stories in the book."


Potomac Review:"Potomac Review: The characters in Tracks don’t take predictable paths through their lives. Which story in Tracks surprised you the most when you finished writing it? "Eric D. Goodman: As many writers will tell you, a character often takes on a life of his or her own and sometimes leads you in directions you don’t expect. When I began writing each story, I knew what they were about and who the characters were, but not always where they’d end up."


Towson Times:“Many of us know this Rodgers Forge resident's wonderful first book, "Flightless Goose," a children's story … now adults can thrill to Eric's work.”(This photo took up nearly a full page of the print edition.)


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Talent in Motion Magazine:"The tales are as diverse as the characters on the train ... The one thing they have in commonis a train, a conductor and time. Each of their chance encounters shed a closer understanding to ...why we are stronger by the stories we share ..."


Madam Mayo:In this guest blog, Eric D. Goodman shares five train stories worth riding. C.M. Mayo writes of Tracks:"It has been garnering effusive praise, including from Madison Smartt Bell who calls it "a most cunningly crafted tale -- a perfect read for trains, planes, and automobiles... or even your armchair." Hop aboard at www.TracksNovel.com."


Potomac Review : Author Eric D. Goodman shares the thrill of release day."A good number of people have asked me: what was it like? To finally have my first novel released after years—decades—of pitching to agents and publishers? To have a traditional publisher release my baby to the world. The short answer: somewhat surreal. What follows is the long answer."__


Potomac Review:Author Eric D. Goodman blogs about what happens after release day and how exhaustion is a good thing."My debut novel in stories, Tracks, was published by Atticus Books on June 30 of this year. The release date was a whirlwind, so much going on that it left my head spinning. But that doesn’t mean I’m standing still now, a season later ... it doesn’t end with release day."_


Lexington Herald LeaderTracks makes the Bluegrass Bookshelf list.


Ally E. Peltier Newsletter:Success Story about going from rough draft to published novel."Be sure to check out the book, Tracks: A Novel in Stories, by Eric D. Goodman, published by Atticus Books."_


Bear Tracks:"Eric Goodman sees release of Tracks, a novel in stories ..."



Interview with Atticus Books:"... our tete-a-tete with the author himself, who shares everything from his original inspiration to John Waters’ plans for the movie ..."


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