Trim size: 5.250in x 8.000in
Pub Date: 03/01/2013
List Price: $19.95
The ten stories in Winter Money are set in rural Kentucky and West Virginia, in dim horse racing and river towns. The men in Andy Plattner’s stories are tough and uncertain, the women independent and disappointed, but they are strong-willed and high-spirited, always believing there’s a better life, just over the horizon, after the next race.
The title story depicts the life of a jockey agent who has seen some bad breaks but knows in his heart he can turn things around if he can just get some “winter money” to make a fresh start in Florida. In “Chandelier,” a bankrupt horse breeder risks everything again in an attempt to save a friend’s farm. “Eldorado” is the story of a young horse groom convinced an old car will be good luck for him, even though it could break down over the next hill.
Life at a race track is as desperately unpredictable as the next race, but the people bound to this life live only when they are taking chances. The lies they tell themselves and others run with reality to create new truths. The men and women of Winter Money live in motel rooms that rent by the week, where strangers can change the course of lives. Love and compassion come from unexpected sources, and, as a result, dreams and desired are nurtured and sometimes, against the odds, sustained.
There are grooms and trainers and bookmakers aplenty, but it’s the crazy woman who stuffs her house with other people’s garbage, the corrupt, know-it-all cop, and the pot-smoking floozy that provide the swing and verve.
Plattner’s stories prove again and again that you don’t have to be flashy to be good.
Written in spare, crystalline prose, the stories in Winter Money follow people who are each ‘a moment or two’ from failure or triumph, suspended in a heartbreaking instant when anything can happen.