Some Bore Gifts is a fantastical take on the inner workings on the average person’s conscious mind. It is clear A.G. Harmon is precise and specific when it comes to each and every detail that he either includes or omits. The precise attention to detail and the playfulness applied to the everyday character in these stories will enchant and affect each and every person that flips through its pages.
“Old people lived there . . . the kind who cannot be driven from their homes, even by the promise of more to eat and less to do and a cooler place to do it in. The old poor ones who will not surrender what they have always seen, even if it is the worst of things.”. In the namesake story, “Some Bore Gifts,” Dr. Priest struggles to find his purpose following the end of his practicing days. Doc’s wife has always been one of those women to stay in the place she’s always known, but now that he’s been forced out of the life he’s always known, he finds himself scrambling for that same contentedness. Juan Julio, the militant type leader, is the man in charge of cleaning up Dr. Priest’s farm after a storm ravages the land. The two strike up a strange sort of friendship, and Dr. Priest thinks he sees a bit of himself in this task driven man—and if only given the chance, he could be that man again.
In “What They Left,” the reader is forced to decide whether or not John is a morally good man. He’s a collector of sorts, a man who salvages the things others abandon on the side of the road. This gets him into trouble a time or two, but none so much as the abandoned truck. He hears her cries while he’s working on the engine in the dark, and he must make the decision to save her or put her out of her misery. This choice proves even more difficult by the added guilt of his father’s strange death. The details are masterfully placed, and the secrets reveled at just the right moments, but the question of John’s morality proves to be the biggest mystery and the lingering question at the end of this story.
Harrington loves his job in “Native Language.” Besides a sister a few hours away, it’s the only thing he has left. When he’s forced into a year sabbatical for the first time in thirty-eight years, his world is therefore turned upside down. He tries to fill his days with things other than teaching but eventually he concludes, “if things continue on this path . . . he will be dead of a stroke by next Christmas term. If he does not teach, he will go insane, or come down with some equivalent of the bends.” Having come to this realization, he tries teaching literature to non-native speakers, then he tries teaching to himself in the mirror, but none of it works. Finally, Harrington finds himself facing the altar of God himself, still looking for someone to teach.
A.G. Harmon, through a broad spectrum of characters, captivates and enthralls readers with stories of everyday life. The stories in Some Bore Gifts have a life of their own, and the vivid character depictions are unlike any other. Before you know it, you’ll have finished a story about a museum guide only to realize your heart is beating like you’ve just finished a thriller. Harmon is a master of detail and doesn't waste a single word.