Arts & Culture

The Patron Saint of Dreams by Philip Gerard

  • By John Murawski
  • Photography by Bert VanderVeen

A writer dissects mundane events and finds universal lessons.

Patron Saint of Dreams_Gerard

Master storyteller Philip Gerard, who writes Our State’s Civil War series, is eager to give you a private tour through the eye of a Category 3 hurricane, a force he describes as biblical in his new set of essays.

You’re invited into a hospital emergency room, where a gurney-bound Gerard reports on his own heart attack. An astute observer, Gerard pays attention even during the eight-minute interlude when he is pronounced dead.

His cast of characters includes over-the-hill baseball players batting in summer leagues, a family of Mexican migrants camping in a dry riverbed, and a French general who masquerades as a Southern schoolmaster.

“In many ways, this book lives in the low-tide line — that in-between ground where you’re not quite the person you used to be and you’re not yet the person you’re going to become,” Gerard says.

For the best piece in the collection, Gerard reconstructs a boating accident that claimed four lives. He studied court transcripts, scoured federal reports, and laid out nautical maps on his floor to trace the boat’s course. Then he sailed the route for himself on the Intracoastal Waterway.

When he’s not decoding the meaning behind larger-than-life events, Gerard focuses on everyday ephemera as windows into the mystery of existence. It’s part of a creative process he describes as using facts as a starting point but then “taking it a step further to meditate on the larger meaning that will endure beyond the headline.”

Hub City Press. 2012, 200 pages, paperback, $17.95.

Our State

About Our State

Since 1933, Our State has shared stories about North Carolina with readers both in state and around the world. We celebrate the people and places that make this state great. From the mountains to the coast, we feature North Carolina travel, history, food, and beautiful scenic photography.
This entry was posted in Books, January 2013 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Comment:

Comments are moderated and once approved will appear in the space above. Your name will appear as you provide it in the block below. Your email address will not appear or be shared. 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>