Fourteen unique stories make up this collection, weaving characters together who are not linked to each other personally, but rather are tied together by virtue of being torn between cultures, not quite fitting in – trying to find their balance and “place” in society. All of these stories have some connection to or relate to Asia.
Author Erker is a versatile writer with an international perspective; he spent his formative years growing up in several countries in Europe, was educated in California and has spent most of his life living in the Asia-Pacific region. This is his first book.
During the book’s initial story, he tells the tale of a father meeting his child for the first time after fathering him 11 years prior – immediately in a following story he forms the identity of a woman living in an abusive relationship.
While there is such a complete contrast in characters and stories in this collection, they are believable based on the perspective that he delivers.
At times the stories seem to have been written by different authors. There is the esoteric story, “As I walked a Bridge of Dreams”, almost mirroring the title of the book – a story that involves much concentration on the readers behalf. Then there is a shorter piece that reads easily – an emotional story about a young Vietnamese woman who finds strength from a real story her grandmother experienced decades prior.
Erker has a way with words, writing as first person in several of these stories – in the story in which he meets his son for the first time – he is an artist and delivers an engaging commentary on art including, “A thirty-year-old film is hopelessly dated; a painted masterpiece never loses its vitality”. But his son only offers a single word of effort to describe his feelings regarding art, “good”. Nonetheless this is a story of change, in which the father eventually does connect with his son and isn’t ready to let him leave when his mother returns to pick him up.
Look for and upcoming second book from this talented author, “Embers” a novel that takes place in Japan (drawing from his personal perspective – Central Japan was where he called home for some time).