Frederick, K.C. 1935–
Frederick, K.C. 1935–
Born 1935, in Detroit, MI.
Writer, teacher. Teacher in the Boston, MA area.
Pushcart Prize, 1986, for "Everybody's Got a Hungry Heart"; National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, 1993.
Country of Memory, Permanent Press (Sag Harbor, NY), 1998.
The Fourteenth Day, Permanent Press (Sag Harbor, NY), 2000.
Accomplices, Permanent Press (Sag Harbor, NY), 2003.
Inland, Permanent Press (Sag Harbor, NY), 2006.
Work represented in anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, and 1991; contributor of short fiction to periodicals, including Epoch, Shenandoah, Kansas Quarterly, Ascent, Beloit Fiction Journal, and Ohio Review.
K.C. Frederick has won several awards for his short fiction, including a Pushcart Prize. In 1998, he published a Kafkaesque first novel titled Country of Memory. Petir, the novel's protagonist, has a job denying claims for an insurance company in a fictional Eastern European country on which the sun rarely shines. He is being stalked by a peasant who lost a leg in an accident and wants to get even with Petir over the denial of his insurance claim. If this is not worry enough, an old acquaintance of Petir's—a childhood friend who is now a transvestite—asks Petir to stand in for him in a rendezvous with a mysterious woman. Conformist Petir uncharacteristically accepts the assignment, only to find out later that his acquaintance has been found murdered in women's clothing near a refugee camp on the outskirts of town. As the stalker draws closer, Petir seeks solace from the mysterious woman and from his ex-wife who now lives with her lesbian lover. The chaotic events in his current life serve to illuminate a suppressed memory from his childhood—his mother sending him out of the house only to blow it up with herself, his father, and his grandmother inside. Petir wins escape from both inner and outer turmoil through a final confrontation with the embittered peasant.
James Saynor, reviewing the novel for the New York Times Book Review, called Country of Memory "almost a pastiche of the twentieth-century Eastern European novel—a digest of quiet desperation, mining a vein of literary style from Kafka to Kundera." Saynor added that the novel "has an odd depressive exuberance. It amounts to Old World gloom described with irrepressible New World bounce." The critic noted the author's technique, dubbing Frederick "a fitful storyteller; the narrative pressure of his novel comes and goes in spurts, like water in an Eastern European plumbing system."
In The Fourteenth Day, a country has been torn apart by the events known as The Thirteen Days, and now three survivors are thrown together to face the future.
Accomplices is the story of Stivan and Anya, survivors of a five-year-old revolution in an unnamed European country. She had nursed him through his injuries and a coma that resulted from an automobile accident. Years later, he attempts to forge a romantic relationship with Anya, now suffering from breast cancer. Stivan provides refuge to Anya's brother, limousine driver Leni, who is hiding from his boss, Raffi, because Raffi's mistress died of a drug overdose while she was with Leni. Stivan, a translator, works for a priest, only to discover that he is smuggling immigrants into the country. The plot is a combination of love story and politically charged drama. A Kirkus Reviews contributor described it as being "a complex portrait of the intricacies of emerging freedom."
Inland is set in 1959 in the American Midwest. Ted Riley is a graduate student and English teacher whose focus does not extend to the complexities and threats of the outside world during the McCarthy era, and whose concern for his own mother's illness is also limited. He lost his first love, Sally, in a plane crash, and now falls for free spirit Dori, who, like Ted, loves horror films. Ted also becomes friendly with library worker Andrew Kesler, a Polish immigrant and alleged homosexual, whose stories and demeanor sometimes make Ted uncomfortable. Ted's life has the potential to become more exciting when a government recruiter suggests that he become a spy. A Publishers Weekly reviewer praised Frederick's handling of the period atmosphere and concluded by noting "the ever-present undertone of paranoia mixed with melancholy."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 1998, review of Country of Memory; June 1, 2003, review of Accomplices, p. 770; October 15, 2006, review of Inland, p. 1034.
Library Journal, October 15, 1998, Lawrence Rungren, review of Country of Memory, p. 97.
New York Times Book Review, December 13, 1998, James Saynor, review of Country of Memory, p. 30.
Publishers Weekly, July 14, 2003, review of Accomplices, p. 54; September 11, 2006, review of Inland, p. 35.