Barry Rachin

Biography

About the Author

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Barry Rachin spent several years stationed in Yokuska, Japan as a Navy medic caring for casualties during the Vietnam War. He has studied at the University of Jerusalem, lived on a kibbutz for a year and holds a degree in clinical counseling from Simmons College. A self-taught woodworker, he presently lives in Attleboro, Massachusetts with his wife and two daughters.

Smashwords Interview

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My greatest joy in writing is the creative process itself – never quite knowing how a particular plotline or character will evolve. Frequently, it becomes a process of personal growth and illumination. Writing creative fiction requires a certain degree of humility along with the willingness to ‘fight through’ all the hackneyed prose in order to find just the right metaphor or imagery. Over the years I have enjoyed a number of hobbies - woodworking, jazz cornet, beekeeping, etc. - but creative writing is, far and away, the most demanding.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans offer a small measure of validation that my shorts stories are finding an appreciative home in the reading community. I use the term ‘small measure’ because the sort of writing I favor (literary fiction), presently possesses a much smaller audience than it did back in the psychedelic sixties, when I was a college student. Still, a narrow group of readers seem to appreciate my creative fiction and I am eternally grateful for their support.
Read more of this interview.

Books

Turgenev's Lost Tale
Price: Free! Words: 5,290. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Professor Harry Portman, chairman of the English Department, teaches an elective titled Masterpieces of European Literature at Overland Community College. When a student agitator disrupts his class, life begins to mimic art, assuming the tragic trajectory of a Turgenev novella.
Sanctuary of the Whirligigs
Price: Free! Words: 5,370. Language: English. Published: June 25, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Marcus is showing Andrea Simpson, the PhD Psychologist who counsels hard-core offenders at the women's reformatory, how to construct whirligigs. Andrea, for her part, is teaching Marcus a thing or two about the human condition.
Collected Short Stories: Volume V
Price: Free! Words: 74,370. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Twenty-eight year-old Jesse Caldwell is painfully shy, lives at home and hates his moronic life. Miranda Huffington suffers from a gimpy leg and equally stunted personality. This is not your standard Harlequin romance.
Collected Short Stories: Volume IV
Price: Free! Words: 75,050. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
* Bethany Glaspell approached the first-ever meeting with Great-uncle Vern, a man who returned from the jungles of Vietnam with a Hmong bride and warped personality, much as a cat burglar might plan his next heist, telling no one, neither friend nor family, her intentions.
Collected Short Stories: Volume III
Price: Free! Words: 78,370. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
* A young boy spends a magical weekend with his sister, a former collegiate track star crippled in a freak accident. During the visit he learns a poignant lesson about the resilience of monarch butterflies and the human heart
Collected Short Stories: Volume II
Price: Free! Words: 84,850. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
* Grace Paulson’s train wreck of a personal life takes a turn for the better when the elementary school teacher meets a gifted artisan whose handmade jewelry boxes are featured at the local museum. Well-versed in nineteenth century Russian literature, Carl Solomon also happens to be the school janitor.
Collected Short Stories volume I
Price: Free! Words: 64,700. Language: English. Published: July 25, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Literature » Literary
 Pearl Singleton, a forest ranger at the Pemberton Wildlife Preserve, is going to show eighteen year old Shawn Mariano her Osborne Smoke Finder, all six varieties of New England ferns, a beaver dam, and something he never bargained for.  A straight-laced ex-nun must decide what to do with a stolen Sony Trinitron TV. The arrival of a Russian Jew in the apartment complex where she lives resolves
Will the Rain Hurt the Rhubarb?
Price: Free! Words: 4,150. Language: English. Published: July 6, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance – Jason Flanagan needs to make restitution for a crime committed fifteen years earlier. Problem is, the moral indiscretion isn’t punishable in any court of law.
Synchronicity
Price: Free! Words: 4,860. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(5.00)
Gabe and Marie share a mutual disgust for the light-skinned Negro who never cleans up after her Great Dane at the Oak Knoll bird Sanctuary. For the lonely widower and lesbian thespian, their meeting is a textbook case of Jungian synchronicity, a serendipitous wink from the cosmos.
Fatally Flawed Women
Price: Free! Words: 4,650. Language: English. Published: April 1, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Every woman Ernie Summers dated possessed a fatal flaw, which is why he is taking an indefinite sabbatical from the opposite sex. Well, maybe not.
Two Zen Monks
Price: Free! Words: 5,050. Language: English. Published: November 20, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Sarah is travelling to rural Maine to visit an old friend, Midge Parker, who disappeared under peculiar circumstances almost a decade earlier. She drives 400 miles only to discover that Midge has moved on again without leaving any forwarding address. But the journey's end offers an unexpected revelation.
The Hornback Alligator Belt
Price: Free! Words: 4,910. Language: English. Published: December 22, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Short stories
Ralph Tucker wants to reconnect with an old flame, a woman who wears 500-dollar, Orvis, genuine hornback alligator belts. If the failed romance is resurrected from the dead, the middle-aged man may need a second job.
Kindred Spirits
Price: Free! Words: 4,370. Language: English. Published: June 19, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Short stories
(5.00)
Dora's face, an aesthetic work in progress, exudes an unfinished blankness - as though God had become distracted and wandered away from the wet canvas before completing a meager handful of details. Not that any of this makes a difference to lovelorn Harry Jankowski.
Damaged Goods
Price: Free! Words: 4,870. Language: English. Published: November 6, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Romance » Short stories
(3.67)
Twenty-eight year-old Jesse Caldwell is painfully shy, lives at home and hates his moronic life. Miranda Huffington suffers from a gimpy leg and equally stunted personality. This is not your standard Harlequin romance.
Devotion
Price: Free! Words: 3,450. Language: English. Published: May 8, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
Ralph Tucker is dating a woman who favors Orvis, genuine hornback crocodile belts. The dainty accessories retails for just under six hundred dollars. If Ralph’s romance blossoms, he’s going to need a second job.
A Guide for the Perplexed
Price: Free! Words: 2,330. Language: English. Published: March 20, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
(5.00)
In the rear of Levinson's Wholefood Market, the owner's son, Ernie, just told Shifrah Fienberg that he wants to marry. The emotionally irascible Israeli would have preferred a first date or dozen long-stemmed rose.
Sanitation
Price: Free! Words: 2,770. Language: English. Published: January 27, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Maria Santos, who just bought the Breakfast Nook, knows nothing about cross-contamination, pest control, immersion gauges or reduced-oxygen packaging. The new health inspector is every restaurant owner’s worse nightmare, but Maria needn’t worry. She’s got an ace up her culinary sleeve.
The Moribund Moose
Price: Free! Words: 6,230. Language: English. Published: December 8, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Ruth Ostrowski’s midlife crisis hadn’t arrived in the normally prescribed manner. Rather, it snuck up on her incrementally, one negligible tribulation after another; it bushwhacked her with night sweats, sent her caterwauling toward menopause and the outer rim of her twilight years. Now, compounding her inner blight, the first frost, like a silver-haired, uninvited guest, blanketed the earth.
The Third Fairy Tale
Price: Free! Words: 8,390. Language: English. Published: November 17, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Sixteen-year-old Ned Scoletti is travelling north on a Greyhound bus from Fort Pierce, Florida to Spaulding, Massachusetts, to visit Aunt Josie. Problem is, his mother’s identical twin sister died when Nick was just a toddler. Or maybe not.
Leaky Pipes
Price: Free! Words: 4,410. Language: English. Published: October 25, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Bartholomew Schroeder, a recent widower and retired plumber, can sweat pipes and fix broken toilets, but, on a weekend excursion to Martha's Vineyard, can he mend a teenage girl's broken spirit?
Hummus
Price: Free! Words: 7,750. Language: English. Published: October 20, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Seventeen-year-old Sonny Gossage is infatuated with Naomi Shamir, the Israeli woman who lives down the street. He wants romance; all she can offer is a plate of hummus and occaisional babysitting job.
Guide for the Perplexed
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,310. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Ernie Levinson wants to marry Shifrah Fienberg, but the Israeli woman, whose background prior to coming to work at Levinsons Whole Food Market remains an impenetrable mystery, feels that a dozen roses or first date might be a bit more appropriate.
Hieronymus Bosch's American Landscape
Price: Free! Words: 3,700. Language: English. Published: September 8, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Bethany Glaspell approached the first-ever meeting with Great-uncle Vern, a man who returned from the jungles of Vietnam with a Hmong bride and warped personality, much as a cat burglar might plan his next heist, telling no one, neither friend nor family, her intentions.
Nagel's Bagels
Price: Free! Words: 3,570. Language: English. Published: August 11, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
There are five levels of gifted intelligence ranging from bright to profoundly gifted. One in every thirty thousand is 'exceptional', which makes Curtis Stedman, the part-time dishwasher at Nagel’s Bagels, one smart cookie!
Circus Maximus
Price: Free! Words: 2,690. Language: English. Published: July 25, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Buddy Hazelton, chairman of the Brandenburg College philosophy department, quit his job to join the Waverly Brothers Traveling Circus. Later today, the authority on Ludwig Wittgenstein's linguistic theory is being shot from cannon.
The Reluctant Bigamist
Price: Free! Words: 7,880. Language: English. Published: June 28, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Mickey Pisludski wears a chain of armor piercing, machine gun shells around his thick neck. The week after his Army discharge, he bored the quarter-inch holes in the soft, brass casings, later threading the bullets together on a length of rawhide. Like so many gold, sharks teeth, the shells fanned out across a khaki T-shirt with a gash under the left armpit.
Twin Souls
Price: Free! Words: 6,000. Language: English. Published: June 14, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Romance » General
Mavis Calhoun, who works the cash register at the Shop Rite Supermarket, is going to teach Harry Wong Smith the fine points of Rumi’s mystical poetry and common decency.
Narcissus and Goldberg
Price: Free! Words: 1,990. Language: English. Published: May 5, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Beatrice Goldberg doesn't much like Hispanics, biker broads, Franciscan monks, skinheads, or even salt-of-the-earth blue collar types, but she is going to get a double dose of all of the above, when she visits Our Lady of La Salette Shrine in Attleboro, Massachusetts.
The Herb Gatherer's Disciple
Price: Free! Words: 2,280. Language: English. Published: April 29, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Seventeen year-old Laurel Evers is running off to a fictional village in rural Maine in search of an idyllic existence that hasn’t existed since the era of the horse and buggy. Life was simpler, idyllic then. People meandered about in horse-drawn wagons, fished, grew their own potato crops and made throat lozenges from locally-grown spearmint boiled in metal cauldrons over the stove.
107 Degrees Fahrenheit
Price: Free! Words: 5,720. Language: English. Published: April 15, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(4.00)
A young boy spends a magical weekend with his sister, a former collegiate track star crippled in a freak accident. During the visit he learns a poignant lesson about the resilience of monarch butterflies and the human heart
A Work in Progress
Price: Free! Words: 4,210. Language: English. Published: April 11, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(5.00)
Tawana Saunders is writing the great American novel. Problem is, six months into the project, she’s only got a rough draft plus three lousy paragraphs.
The Chiropractor's Assistant
Price: Free! Words: 84,220. Language: English. Published: February 7, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(4.00)
Epistemology - When Ronda Wickford, the assistant manager of Brandenburg’s ShopRite Supermarket, inadvertently hires a middle-age man with a PhD in philosophy to run the fresh produce department, weird things begin to happen. As events unfold, she learns a thing or two about Wittgenstein’s linguistic theories, common decency and how to fix a leaky faucet.
Fun with Dick and Jane
Price: Free! Words: 2,210. Language: English. Published: February 1, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(5.00)
Dick wants fun. He has no dog. He has no cat. No Spot. No Puff. But he has a plan. See Dick board the plane. See Dick fly away. Far, far away. Hello happiness! Goodbye Jane
Gandhi's Goat
Price: Free! Words: 5,820. Language: English. Published: January 25, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Mrs. Chowdhary named her youngest daughter after Saint Theresa, the Little Flower of Jesus. Unfortunately, Terry has more in common with Attila the Hun than her nineteenth century namesake.
The Reticent Storyteller
Price: Free! Words: 4,190. Language: English. Published: November 29, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Parker Salisbury is dating a girl with the social graces of a cigar store Indian. So why is he giving Lilly an engagement ring later this evening?
A Key to Paradise
Price: Free! Words: 42,710. Language: English. Published: November 19, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Romance » General
(5.00)
Grace Paulson’s train wreck of a personal life takes a turn for the better when the elementary school teacher meets a gifted artisan whose handmade jewelry boxes are featured at the local museum. Well-versed in nineteenth century Russian literature, Carl Solomon also happens to be the school janitor.
Legal Procedures
Price: Free! Words: 3,710. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Phoebe’s Aunt Janet, who has been married six times, is advising her niece on affairs of the heart. Good Luck Phoebe!
Tulipwood
Price: Free! Words: 6,210. Language: English. Published: October 17, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Kendra Ryder just gave fifteen year old Frankie Dexter a slab of fresh-cut tulipwood along with the advice, "When you’re feeling bad, just scuff the wood with 120-grit sandpaper, grab a whiff and you're guaranteed to feel a whole lot better!”
The Abode of Infinite Compassion
Price: Free! Words: 3,700. Language: English. Published: October 4, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Marty Humphrey has trouble finishing things. He just dropped out of college, and previously, a European backpacking adventure was abruptly cut short, when he became morbidly homesick on the flight across the Atlantic. Maybe the mystic-minded Rose O'Donnell can help Marty sort things out.
Still Virgin
Price: Free! Words: 2,020. Language: English. Published: September 14, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(2.00)
A year out of high school, Clarissa, who couldn't even score a date for the senior prom, is into tantric sex, Pablo Neruda and orgasms bordering on divine rapture. And she's still a virgin!
What would Junie B. Jones do?
Price: Free! Words: 4,460. Language: English. Published: September 9, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.00)
"Mr. Jacobson sniffs little girls' bicycle seats," Benjamin Carter announced cavalierly as though the topic made for polite dinner conversation. The family had just sat down to the evening meal. Grace Carter poured some gravy on her mash potatoes, cleared her throat and asked, "Where exactly did you learn this?"
What Would Junie B. Jones Do?
Price: Free! Words: 3,570. Language: English. Published: September 9, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.00)
"Mr. Jacobson, the old Jewish guy who lives on Bickford street, sniffs little girls' bicycle seats," eight year old Benjamin Carter announced cavalierly as though the topic made for polite dinner conversation. The family had just sat down to the evening meal. Grace Carter poured some gravy on her mash potatoes, cleared her throat and asked, "Where exactly did you learn this?"
Simple Hearts
Price: Free! Words: 4,040. Language: English. Published: September 1, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Foul-mouthed Marna Copparelli, who waitresses at Guido's Pizza on Federal Hill, wouldn't know a semicolon from a large intestine. Luther Buttafuoco writes books that get reviewed in the New York Times literary section. He wants a date with Marna Copparelli. Good luck, Luther!
The Divined Comedy
Price: Free! Words: 6,830. Language: English. Published: August 5, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Ava Frick works second shift at the Texaco Gas Mart where, when business is slow, she reads Soren Kierkegaard and drops the I Ching. The other day she got five broken lines ( __ __ ) and one solid ( _____ ). Not a good omen!
Emergence
Price: Free! Words: 8,130. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Nadia Rasmussen, the reference librarian at Brandenberg Public Library, is discovering that true love can be found at the Hoxie Feed and Grange just as easily as at the cheesy dating bars.
Call of the Beguiled
Price: Free! Words: 7,180. Language: English. Published: July 1, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Cheryl Oliphant doesn’t do well in social situations. The fourteen year old girl’s best friend, Nicolena, is a four-foot, South American tree boa and her parents are getting divorced. On the plus side, Cheryl just met Teddy Rasmussen who offered her a sympathetic ear plus an inch-thick slice of apricot, sour cream loaf.
Two Pockets
Price: Free! Words: 7,410. Language: English. Published: June 24, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(3.00)
According to Hasidic tradition, everyone must have two pockets, so they can reach into the one or the other, according to need. In the right pocket are to be the words: ‘For my sake was the world created,’ and in the left: ‘I am dust and ashes.’
Heathcliff
Price: Free! Words: 5,520. Language: English. Published: June 17, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Pearl Singleton, a forest ranger at the Pemberton Wildlife Preserve, is going to show eighteen year old Shawn Mariano her Osborne Smoke Finder, all six varieties of New England ferns, a beaver dam, and something he never bargained for.
Epistemology
Price: Free! Words: 7,360. Language: English. Published: June 17, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
When Ronda Wickford, the assistant manager of Brandenburg’s ShopRite Supermarket, inadvertently hires a middle-age man with a PhD in philosophy to run the fresh produce department, weird things begin to happen. As events unfold, she learns a thing or two about Wittgenstein’s linguistic theories, common decency and how to fix a leaky faucet.
Just like Dostoyevsky
Price: Free! Words: 5,270. Language: English. Published: June 1, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(4.00)
Sylvia Mandelstam boasts what a wonderful time she had at the international literary symposium in Moscow. Truth be told, the trip was an unmitigated fiasco not unlike her marriage and personal life. She can lie shamelessly and dissemble to everyone - even Danny O'Rourke, the unassuming mason who arrives one summery day to repair her damaged brick wall. But not indefinitely.
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Smashwords book reviews by Barry Rachin

  • When the Moon had Feet on June 08, 2010

    What a perfect gem of a short story! The plot is thoroughly original, the narrative unfolding in a painterly fashion where the reader is able to see, taste, feel everything that is going on during the family gathering. I have read a lot of world literature over the pst forty years and can tell you that this remarkable piece of fiction can hold its own with the best that's out there. A perfect five stars, in my humble opinion.