Plato at Scratch Daniel's
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Distinctinction is a hallmark of these fine stories . .... As its title suggests, one of the most constant themes of the stories is the contrast between the philosophic ideals we create for ourselves and the way in which these ideals are distorted by our imperfect situations and our vagaries of character. ... Story writers like Edward Falco lend me faith, though not always a comforting one.

---Fred Chappell in Gulf Stream









Typically, in assessing a first book, one praises what will come after, the talent one sees as fulfilling itself in a later work. This is not so with Falco's first book of fiction. In it, he combines the eye of a poet with the ear of a master storyteller to create short stories that don't require any waiting--they demonstrate the talent of their creator on page after page.

––James Wyshynski in The Black Warrior Review


Falco handles powerful, uncomfortable emotions with an understated grace. He is unafraid to make his characters show anger or pain, and he does so very believably. The language of his characters' thoughts is beautiful and poetic in the midst of their struggles. Falco has published a novel and a chapbook of prose poems, Concert in the Park of Culture, and many passages are prose poems in themselves. Most of the action in these stories takes place within the characters' minds as they struggle to find personal philosophies to steer them through their lives. These lyrical interior conversations pull the reader directly into the lives of the people on the page and fix the stories fundy in the mind.

––Laude Parker in Book Page

Falco writes hard-edged, uncompromising fiction. His is a name to remember.

–– Booklist 

These 12 stories contain situations that echo the background noise of our times, including child abuse, the Vietnam era, and racism. Falco skillfully deals with the consequences of contemporary anxieties by exploring his characters' responses to their own dilemmas. In "Prodigies,' a Fourth of July resonates with a disagreement between two brothers over one's racist attitudes. "Peace Brother" looks at the impossibility of escape from the emotional liabilities of the Vietnam War, even by those young men who were most determined to evade service. In "The Girl at the Window," a young father is confronted by his helplessness when he attempts to aid a neighbor girl who is the victim of child abuse. This is a readable, compelling collection....

––Francis Poole in Library Journal 

In the best of these tales, the reader is mesmerized by the magic woven by an author in command of his materials. Comparisons that come to mind are not only with other writers of fiction, but also with two poets: Wordsworth and Frost. Like them, Falco works his magic within the rules. And like Hemingway and Joyce, he relies on his ability to create vivid word pictures to make his readers see what he wants them to see and feel what he wants them to feel without ever telling them how to do either. The results make for entertaining and thought-provoking reading.

–– Writer's Carousel

Falco is a serious writer who cuts events into glittering diamonds and then examines the diamonds. The entire craftsmanship is superb and the stories resonate in the heart....

–– The Book Reader




These are stories you don't confuse with one another and don't soon forget. ...There is a certain inevitability in all Falco's stories---which is a far cry from predictability. A careful reader realizes, in reflection, that what happened in a story just finished must have happened, and that it will happen again and again in this world. ....The first time through Plato at Scratch Daniel's, one marvels at the strong storylines; after that the craft of the story rises to the surface like good cream. ....The collection is strong and memorable.

––Joan Schroeder in The Roanoke Times & World News


The stories in Edward Falco's Plato at Scratch Daniers and Other Stories examine a wide range of situations and characters. They are consistently well crafted in a quiet, confident style. Each story, having been previously published, displays a maturity uncommon in a first collection. ... Falco does not back down from taking narrative risks. In "St. Augustine on MONY Tower," dream, memory, and visions merge in a terse, yet compassionate, expression of a religion professor's grief for his dead son. ... There is nothing tricky or flashy about the stories in this collection. They subtly yet surely lodge themselves in the reader's consciousness---and hold there.

––Peter Donahue in Studies in Short Fiction


Well-crafted, engaging portraits of subjects ranging from subway riders and perverts to stable workers and the luminously insane. These are old-fashioned tales made new....

–– Kirkus Reviews 

The stories that Edward Falco tells in Plato at Scratch Daniel's are powerful; they are the types that will roll around in the heads of his readers for weeks at the very least. The stories cover discoveries, of various types, and in many of the stories, Falco's plotting shocks the reader just as much as the protagonist.

––Dan Wickett, Emerging Writers Forum

A collection of compelling stories....

–– UniversityPress Book News

The twelve tales collected here---all beautifully crafted, all previously published in various literary journals--concern ordinary people caught up in a world that is dangerously off balance. These are stories filled with pity and terror for the human condition.

––Ellen Donohue Warwick in The Wilson Library Journal