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Tacoma Stories

Click the links for full interview or review.


KNPR Interview "I Am Drawn to the Idea of Dispatch"

Peace Corps Worldwide
In town to cash in on the NBA buzz generated by Murray State University’s versatile point guard Ja Morant, a writer from Sports Illustrated recently characterized Murray, Kentucky as “a city of 17,741 tucked into the state’s southwest corner, where on any given day you might find a horse pulling a passenger cart down 12th Street.” As someone who was incensed by the manufactured hokeyness of this comment — in 27 years in Murray, I have yet to spot a horse and cart on our main drag — I may constitute the ideal audience for Richard Wiley’s Tacoma Stories, a linked collection that gives poignant testimony to Tacoma’s gravitas as a place despite or perhaps even because of its general failure to achieve billing over . . .
- by Ann Neelon (Senegal 1978-79)

Peace Corps Worldwide
I can’t get through a day without it. Reading, that is. Sometimes, I have a hard time going pageless for a couple of hours. I’m so habituated to reading, I can forget why I do it. Tacoma Stories just reminded me why: one reads in the hope of delight. And that’s what Wiley’s new book provides. The linked stories that make up the collection are deeply pleasureful reads...
- by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80)

Shelf Awareness
An eclectic assortment of dive bar owners, staff and patrons constitute "sixteen characters in search of a play on St. Patrick's Day, 1968" in the opening of Richard Wiley's Tacoma Stories. Following its heyday, Pat's Tavern is coasting into oblivion in Tacoma, Wash. The 13 stories that follow the introductory installment, "Your Life Should Have Meaning on the Day You Die," examine the lives of the players as they branch into the acts of their lives between 1958 and 2012...

-by Lauren O'Brien

Publishers Weekly
“Wiley’s antic, wrenching collection of 14 interlocking stories reveals the subtle connections among a dozen characters whose unpredictable lives evolve through the decades in the title city. . . . [It] provides a tentatively affirmative answer to the question raised by a fictional version of the daughter of Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth: ‘Do you think a town can act as a hedge against the unabated loneliness of the human heart?’” ―Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Review
“This linked set of seriocomic stories that hopscotches across a half-century . . . emphasizes unlikely transformations over time―and, as the title suggests, the role of place in those transformations. And though Wiley juggles plenty of characters, he has a light touch that’s fitting for a book rooted in the free-wheeling ’60s.” ―Kirkus Reviews

Foreword Reviews
“Compelling. . . . The genius of [Tacoma Stories] is that the relationships between characters and their backstories add depth to each entry, but the individual tales are still strong enough to stand on their own.” ―Foreword Reviews