In a distinguished career that has yielded four novels, eight story collections, and a volume of poetry, Gordon Weaver has maintained a distinctive literary voice that, despite its always-recognizable presence, never fails to surprise longtime readers of his work. His best stories somehow manage to be witty and deadly serious at the same time. Last Stands presents people at crucial moments in their lives, the moments in which ultimate challenges are confronted, ultimate questions asked, and definitive judgments are made. Weaver's characters may flounder, and fail, but they are redeemed by their courage and their honesty. A hired assassin ponders his self-worth, a bartender takes his only chance for worldly success, a man buries his mother, another talks with the dead, yet another attends his high school reunion determined on vindication, and a war-weary Vietnam vet finds a place he can call home. These are stories that do not shun the darker side of Weaver's characters, but seek the illumination of the insights needed to make their lives meaningful, if only to themselves.
Gordon Weaver, Professor Emeritus of English at Oklahoma State University, lives in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. He is the author of numerous books, including Four Decades and Long Odds, both available from the University of Missouri Press.