Fiction by Philip Sultz

 This collection of linked short stories — most no more than a page long — is about a group of young men, the sons of Jewish immigrants, who hang out at a late-night diner in Buffalo, New York, circa 1950. At the center of the group is Arnie. He might be selling real estate for the time being, but he always has his eye on the next thing — Christmas tree farming, perhaps, or uranium mining. Then there are Moe, who has a gas station and garage, and Barney, who drives a truck for Pop’s Pies. Observing it all is an art student working odd jobs to afford his paints and brushes — Phil. Most of the stories are funny — as when Arnie tries to gain a psychic advantage at the racetrack, or when Barney crashes the pie truck — but some are deeply moving, as when Arnie welcomes his relative Anne, a refugee, to Buffalo.


“I liked Sultz’s work from the start. It’s energetic, original, real, natural. He gets voice down as well as any writer I’ve read. His stories are mostly funny, but a few are touching. It’s rare that I click with a writer’s work so quickly, but I did with his. His timing is perfect. He is among the very best contemporary writers I know of.”
— Stephen Dixon, two-time National Book Award finalist, for Frog and Interstate

Lake Effect Days is a wonderful snapshot of a Buffalo that no longer exists, save for in the memories of the people who were there.”

— Steve Cichon, Buffalo historian,

“Philip Sultz is a natural. By zeroing in on a moment, a conversation, an incident, or an encounter, Sultz has composed a series of literary snapshots of times past. There’s a beautiful quietness about these fragmentary life studies. There’s something glancing, informal, caught-on-the-quick about Sultz’s recollections of encounters with people, places, and things. Sultz’s remembrances will make a remarkable book — something for readers to plunge into, to savor, and to return to time and again.”
— Jed Perl, author of Calder: The Conquest of Time and New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century.


Selections from Lake Effect Days have been published in leading literary journals — including Fifth Wednesday Journal, the Hopkins Review, and the Three Quarter Review — and have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Read now in its entirety, Sultz’s book stands out as a signal achievement in the field of the very short story, one that will appeal to readers of Stuart Dybek and Lydia Davis alike.


Lake Effect Days
By Philip Sultz
9 full-color illustrations
Jacketed hardcover • 160 pages
5½ × 8½” • $23
Publication date: September 2018
ISBN 978-1-946053-09-1
Publisher: Laboratory Books (distributed by Publishers Group West)


Philip Sultz — born in Buffalo, New York, now resident in Maine — is known as a visual artist of wide-ranging talents. Sultz, who is professor emeritus of art at Webster University in St. Louis and is represented by the legendary New York gallery Allan Stone Projects, has worked extensively in painting, collage, and photography. “He is an artist who can practically stop your breath or break your heart with a slight shift from mauve to mustard,” writes the critic Ed McCormack. Now, with the publication of Lake Effect Days, Sultz reveals his equally subtle and powerful gifts as a writer.

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