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Uncle Adolph's Cruise of Fiction by Richard Seltzer

56,874  words)


Literary fiction, consisting of love stories -- romantic, humorous, and insightful


Imagine Mark Twain, O. Henry, and Ambrose Bierce swapping stories.  


Nine people on a Caribbean cruise share stories at dinner for seven days. The ring-master is Uncle Adolph, a larger-than-life figure, who looks like W.C. Fields, spouts wit and stumbles into wisdom.The  stories range from the real to the fantastic, they include near-magical romantic coincidences as well as tragedy. Some are light-hearted, humorous, and racey. Others should bring you to the brink of tears.


The stories are woven together so you learn of the tellers as well as their tales. You come to feel that you are with them, sharing shipboard life and joining them for dinner each night, as the dramas of their personal lives, past and present, unfold. Having been randomly seated at the same table, they become like family members.


The story tellers include:

Beth and Harry, skilled at seeing threads of fated romance;

Randy and Jane, adept at recognizing and telling lies;

Thelma and Stanley, sex-crazed eighty-year-old newlyweds;

Roxanne AKA Deep Pockets, AKA Hot Pockets, AKA Deep Throat;

Jim, the narrator, recovering from loss and hoping for a new beginning.


As Adolph toasts near the end, "To the newlyweds, to the newly knocked up, to the soon-to-be perpetual cruisers, to the receiver of messages from beyond, and to my fair lady, the fairest of the fair."


Comparables --

The Paris Affair by Tatiana de Rosnay

Bradbury's Stories by Ray Bradbury


Related non-fiction --

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion


Movies with a similar flavor (since this is a natural for a movie) --

Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry met Sallie, Big, Prelude to a Kiss, Roman Holiday, Princess Bride, Midnight in Paris, Fading Gigolo, Only You


Other movies alluded to:

Casablanca, Flashdance, Same Time Next Year, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lost in Translation, Slumdog Millionaire, Ground-Hog Day, Death Takes a Holiday, Legally Blond  privacy statement