Virginia Avenue Press has signed its first book for 2011 and I just got done writing some copy for it for our designer. I liked it so much, I though that I thought I would share it with you. The book is in the mill now and will be out this September. It’s called The Short, Short Hitchhiker, and was edited by Nevada writer Richard Menzies.
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The Short, Short Hitchhiker is the story of Stanley Gurcze, written in his own words. Stan lost both of his feet to frostbite at a very young age, but he never let it hold him back. He spent his early years in Cleveland, finding the menial jobs that were available to someone with his disabilities, but he eventually wearied of being treated like he had disabilities and he struck out on the road. Over the years of walking around the great expanse of his new home, he eventually wore out his prosthetic legs and eventually wound up with just his crutches, making him one of the shortest hitchhikers to travel “everywhere west of the Mississippi.” The stories he tells in his mostly short vignettes are not about pity or pride, or even cynicism, rather, they are about an outsider’s interaction with insiders (and sometimes other outsiders). They are the stories of his experiences traveling the west, meeting friendly cops and arrogant ones, traveling with governors and scam artists, and, in the end, winding up back home where he started. Stanley’s short memoir, edited by his confidant Richard Menzies is truly a classic piece of travel literature, and since much of it is set in Nevada, we hope that it will appeal to a Nevada audience as much as it did to us.
UPDATE: Michael Hagerty from KNPB (Reno) just pointed out something that I had taken for granted, namely that Stan Gurcze as featured in the KNPB documentary called “Living in the Big Empty,” which was based in part on Richard Menzies’ book Passing Through. You can read our reviews of both projects in Issue 2 and Issue 3 of the Nevada Review.