Afiena Kamminga, "Moleman"

The mole trapper toils to make a moleskin coat for his long lost old flame.

(from Short Story International, #51)

As he pushed clear of the pebbled beach, he left the cabin,
and the stack of beavertraps and other gear,
to whom it would concern.

How beautiful is that?

I like the matter-of-fact way this story describes the trappings of its title character’s chosen field. To him, this is a living, perhaps a noble one, certainly not a lucrative one. Though he must love his work, there is little hint at it. Just like there is little hint of love for his ex-wife, though he labors so long to win, if not her favor, then her understanding. This is a beautiful, stark story, singular in mood and mindset.
“Moleman” has many memorable images, among them is the word “landtongue,” as in: “…he built a cabin on a small landtongue on the lake.” There are only 20 hits on Google for this word (maybe 21 by the time you read this), and it doesn’t appear in any dictionary I could find. But it’s a cool word, and the definition is inherent.
Afiena Kamminga has even less web presence. She was born in 1944 in the Netherlands. Later she moved to Canada and married a Dane. Here’s to international month.

This issue of Short Story International was published in 1985. I found it at the wonderful Book Trader. I had never heard of SSI, but I’m glad I now have. This is precisely what I’d been searching for: a simple, nicely-sized, pleasantly laid out collection of short fiction gathered from wherever it’s good. According to this site, SSI was around from ’79-’91, and published at least some of the time out of my hometown of Philadelphia (my copy says it came out of Great Neck, NY).

Rilo Kiley, “The Good That Won’t Come Out”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>