Six Years in May: Thirteen Stories from a Very Odd Mind

Rated 5.00/5 based on 5 reviews
These tales range from the almost normal to the fantastic, from the tragic to the comedic, from dark to light and from dark tale to fairytale.
Interspersed among these tales is an extra story marked in chapters and not indicated in the table of contents. It is at once a story, a recollection, a history and a confession. It is truth and fiction, reality and fantasy. You decided which is which. More

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About Harvey Stanbrough

Harvey Stanbrough is an award-winning writer and poet. He’s fond of saying he was born in New Mexico, seasoned in Texas, and baked in Arizona. After 21 years in the US Marine Corps, he managed to sneak up on a BA degree at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales in 1996. Because he is unable to do otherwise, he splits his writing personality among four personas: Gervasio Arrancado writes magic realism; Nicolas Z “Nick” Porter writes spare, descriptive, Hemingway-style fiction; and Eric Stringer writes the fiction of an unapologetic neurotic. Harvey writes whatever they leave to him. You can see their full bios at

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Review by: Michaele Lockhart on July 27, 2011 :
In Six Years in May author Harvey Stanbrough has promised us "stories from a very odd mind," and he delivers, taking the reader on a thought-provoking journey.

Stanbrough brings a strong sense of place to all his writing, both places that are real and others that are magical and filled with whimsy. To this versatile author there is often little difference between the two, as he paints an entire scene with the graceful brushstroke of a single sentence.

Enjoy the sweet gift of a wounded angel, meet two scarred and battered bull riders living and reliving the fate and dreams allotted to them, and encounter God while crossing Death Valley. This latter story, although recalling Mark Twain's take on this probably meeting, is less cynical and more uplifting: "Don't take everything so seriously," God reminds us.

Stanbrough never misses a chance to tug at our emotions--from the teenaged boy who rapidly and painfully faces reality as adult moments after watching his friend rescued from a flashflood by a ghost, to a simple-minded older man following the voices in his head--his dead mother's--with sad consequences, to the elderly man who eases his terminally ill wife's pain but then needs to pay "the oldest debt."

The concluding story, Six Years in May, predicts an all too grim possibility of our world's next Holocaust. Somehow surviving beneath this unimaginable horror, we see a struggling flame, the human spirit striving to maintain its humanity. Meandering through this collection are personal vignettes from the author's military career, starting with the day he steps onto the bus as a fresh Marine recruit. Michaele Lockhart, author of Coming Home, Last Night at the Claremont, and Hoarding Lies and Secrets.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Diane Farone on June 3, 2011 :
Having taken courses from Harvey before, I already knew he could convey heavy subject matter with engaging humor. In this collection of short stories, for the most part, I think he followed the advice God gave one of Harvey’s characters: to lighten up. By the phrase for the most part I mean there were some that brought tears to my eyes with no compensating smiles, but all of the stories were inspiring. This collection contains thirteen stories, actually fourteen counting the young man/Marine giving us his observations of his experiences over the years. Each story addresses weighty material, the stuff of life and death. The tone, however, portrays the better features of living, things that are more important than physical life itself. By that I mean such aspects as respect, dignity, individual integrity and personal meaning. His characters are down to earth, philosophers of the common man. Their adventures are entertaining and enlightening. Many of the stories’ premises are creatively original, for example the mind cleaner who organizes our memories at night, the conversation with God in Death Valley, the writer who lives in his imagination, and the second holocaust in the year 2139. If you’re ready for travel through varied fascinating worlds with likable characters, this is a collection made for you.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
Review by: Gloria Esquerra on June 1, 2011 :
The mind is odd, the collection of short stories fantastic! Sometimes delicious refreshments can be had only at the table of the Odd Ones. Six Years in May: Thirteen Tales from a Very Odd Mind - Excellent collection by Harvey Stanbrough.

Gloria Esquerra
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
Review by: Mike Alvarez on May 30, 2011 : (no rating)
In Harvey Stanbrough's collection titled Six Years in May: Thirteen Tales from a Very Odd Mind, we are treated to stories that mirror our own life experiences. In "On Bullies and Gods," we are privy to a conversation with God. Then it gets really weird after that.
In "The Oldest Debt," we are witness to the suffering and grief of an old man, Rafael Cordones, whose wife is dying. And only he knows the truth, which he clutches closely in his mind, until the story's ultimate tragic end.
The heartbreaking tragedy of a young boy's death juxtaposed with Russian President Boris Yeltsin's brush with a deadly sniper is deftly explored in "Crushin' Bugs." Stanbrough's precise prose illustrates the fragility of life as brothers experience the accidental death of a childhood friend.
Stanbrough's stories are enjoyable, thought-provoking sojourns into the human condition. These yarns are a great way to spend an afternoon, exploring the elements that make us human.

Michael M. Alvarez, author of The Last Place God Made and Deliver Us From Evil.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
Review by: Francine Fuqua on May 30, 2011 :
After reading Mr. Stanbrough's "Six years in May", I am totally hooked to magic realism genre. Each story stands on its own merit, but yet all seem inexplicably connected and will keep you reading again and again. Mr. Stanbrough, a master of dialog, pulls you into the story and makes you part of it, and this is the very best example of "show, don't tell" creative writing I have ever seen. You "see" and "feel" every sentence. Each story is a masterpiece. This is a great bargain, I highly recommend you buy the short stories, enjoy reading them, and perfect your own writing ability as you read them.
Francine Fuqua - author of In Pursuit of Abraham.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
Review by: Hugh Starkey on May 23, 2011 :
I just finished Six Years in May and enjoyed every syllable and each story is unique. It has been said many times that the author doesn't want to do anything that would interrupt the reader and each of these stories lives up to that premise. Even though I've read and enjoyed The Well and On Bullies and Gods before they lost nothing in the second reading. However, my favorite was Six Years in May, with The Oldest Debt coming in second. As for the whole collection all I can say is, "Bravo!"
(reviewed 33 days after purchase)
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