THE BOOK: Ghost Tracks: Stories of Pittsburgh Past.
PUBLISHED IN: 2017.
THE AUTHOR: Mark Saba.
THE EDITOR: None.
THE PUBLISHER: Big Table Publishing (Boston). “Publishers of exceptional literary fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.”
SUMMARY: Ghost Tracks, from Big Table Publishing (Boston), contains stories that span more than a century, from the mid-1800s through the 1990s. They bring to light characters and life situations that reflect a unique American city—Pittsburgh, one whose immigrant heritage and Appalachian setting melded to form a culture you won’t find anywhere else. Characters include an asthmatic child, a horny adolescent who tests the limits of his school’s permissiveness, a girl on the cusp of womanhood who works in a biscuit factory, a mill worker who raises canaries in his basement, and a former monk who questions the teachings of his Church. Ghost Tracks provides a glimpse into the rich past of the American city that built all others.
THE BACK STORY: I grew up in Pittsburgh but moved away in the 1980s. Now, having lived in New England for many years, I realize just how unique Pittsburgh’s culture it. I had been writing stories about Pittsburgh for 30 years, so I decided to collect them, write a few more, and put this collection together. I consider it my most important and heart-felt work.
WHY THIS TITLE?: The title reflects the lives of those who lived in PIttsburgh in the last century, when the city’s character forged itself most strongly.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? With so much emphasis on global issues and the big problems that face us, I wanted to present a book that dives deeply into the personal and local. The more detailed and specific a human situation is, the more it reflects the universal, and can be appreciated by anyone.
The stories in Ghost Tracks are indeed haunted, but not by poltergeists or any other supernatural monsters. Instead, these beautifully-rendered works of short fiction are haunted by memory and missed opportunities. Mark Saba excavates a city of Pittsburgh where the factories are still producing steel and the men still have to speak in shards of blunt metallic language, where shades of meaning hover like ghosts between the words. ––CRAIG FISHBANE, On the Proper Role of Desire
In Ghost Tracks: Stories of Pittsburgh Past, Mark Saba writes about a Pittsburgh that is neither material, nor historical, but a place of memory. Beginning his collection with a quote from Tolstoy, “Everything is, everything exists, only because I love” he sketches in the “everything” with stories about professors, workmen, children, and nuns told in an amazing range of voices. Some of the narrators relate events as they are occurring; some talk about what happened after their deaths. In the last story in the book, a father who had died when his son was three wonders what his son would have been like had he been a part of his growing up. The father says that the only consolation he can find is that his son uses “his uncommon perspective to bring light to others who may have found themselves in the same circumstance.” Mark Saba has an uncommon perspective and he has used it to connect us to characters that exist for us because of his expert telling of their stories. ––CHRIS BULLARD, Fear
Mark Saba’s Ghost Tracks: Stories of Pittsburgh Past serves up twenty-three delightful vignettes arranged in three movements, chronicling the bittersweet lives of men, women, and children of Pittsburgh past. Among them: a chronic illness, seen and experienced by an innocent child (“Asthma”); a Lithuanian immigrant girl’s coming of age (“National Biscuit Company”); and a richly-lived (and told) life viewed through the diary of a blind maid, mother, and crone (“Eva”). In these and other poignant tales, Saba narrates the human condition at its most savory and delicious. ––PHILLIP E. TEMPLES, Machine Feelings and Helltown Chronicles
AUTHOR PROFILE: I grew up in a family of Polish and Italian heritage in Pittsburgh, where the whole city celebrates Christmas by eating pierogi. I attended the University of Pittsburgh in the pharmacy school before transferring to Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where I ended up an English major and began writing seriously. Other print books of mine include The Landscapes of Pater (a novel, The Vineyard Press) and poetry books Calling the Names (David Robert Books) and Painting a Disappearing Canvas (Grayson Books). I also have some other fiction ebook titles available at Smashwords. My stories, poems, and creative nonfiction have appeared widely in literary magazines and anthologies around the U.S. and abroad. I am also a painter. Please see marksabawriter.com.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: I hope to reach people at a basic human level with my writing, to elicit a range of feeling and emotion that lets them know others may feel the way they do, and we are all in this together.
SAMPLE CHAPTER: https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Tracks-Stories-Pittsburgh-Past/dp/1945917164
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & noble, etc.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: I think it’s very important to open the door to writer/reader interaction. You could post your e-mail address, Facebook page, or Twitter handle, or all of the above. firstname.lastname@example.org