by Marcee Hillman, A&E Feature Writer
Ted Haynes’ collection of 16 Central Oregon short stories immerses the reader into a world of history, intrigue and the fantastic where he introduces rich, complex characters and allows you to become a voyeur into the fabric of their thoughts and lives.
The styles of the stories, taking place across two centuries with a wide span of genres, are a great combination. Each tale stands alone and leaves the reader wondering what would happen to the characters if the plot continued, yet Haynes’ writing keeps them looking forward to the adventures of the next.
It is impossible to discuss each story in the collection, and though it was difficult to decide which one would make the cut, a few favorites are Kubali and the Vampire Cowboys, written in Sci-Fi – early Kurt Vonnegut style, a story of young Trombolianians “none of them over 900 years old – out to see the galaxy before turning to careers and families.” Looking for new and different experiences, they settled east of the Cascades and become cattle ranchers. It was intriguing and humorous reading about these characters that had “a love of mojitos and potato chips.”
On The Mountain created a “What would I do?” question after reading the dialogue between two mountain climbers who face a dilemma when the third climber falls to his death. Fatal Errors tells how a man’s silence about an attempted murder he witnessed comes back to haunt him, and one of the shortest but most intriguing, On the Road from Burns, is a story of one man on a moonlit highway who wins a reprieve from two criminals, leaving you shocked, yet yearning for more.
Haynes said he came up with the idea for On The Road From Burns from spending every summer in Central Oregon, becoming interested in the history of the area. “I wanted to demonstrate that Central Oregon features a wide range of opportunities for fiction,” Haynes said. “I think the region offers a rich environment for writers and we need more of them.”
Ted Haynes studied fiction writing at Darmouth College, UC Berkeley and Stanford University. Haynes first visited Central Oregon in 1975 and he and his wife now spend every summer on the Little Deschutes River.
Haynes’ book is now available wherever books are sold, including Sunriver Books and Music, The Des Chutes Historical Museum, Paulina Springs in Redmond and Sisters, Barnes & Noble and online retailers.