Call Me Ahab


Call Me Ahab

A Short Story Collection

Anne Finger

The Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction Series

206 pages


September 2009


$17.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Imagine a Hollywood encounter between Helen Keller and Frida Kahlo, “two female icons of disability.” Or the story of “Moby Dick, or, The Leg,” told from Ahab’s perspective. What if Vincent Van Gogh resided in a twentieth-century New York hotel, surviving on food stamps and direct communications with God? Or if the dwarf pictured in a seventeenth-century painting by Velazquez should tell her story? And, finally, imagine the encounter between David and Goliath from the Philistine’s point of view.
These are the characters who people history and myth as counterpoints to the “normal.” And they are also the characters who populate Anne Finger’s remarkable short stories. Affecting but never sentimental, ironic but never cynical, these wonderfully rich and comic tales reimagine life beyond the margins of “normality.”

Author Bio

Anne Finger has taught creative writing at Wayne State University in Detroit and at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of several books, including Bone Truth: A NovelBasic Skills: A Short Story Collection; and the memoir Elegy for a Disease: A Personal and Cultural History of Polio.


"Anne Finger’s award-winning Call Me Ahab showcases a plethora of historical and literary characters—each of whom is in some way disabled—and imagines new scenarios for their lives. . . . It is a cheering section for the forgotten and under-appreciated and a testament to creativity, whimsy, and intellect."—Eleanor J. Bader, Feminist Review

"In this marvelously original collection, Finger explores the nature and function of legendary outcasts, from Goliath, initially ridiculed for his giantism before he became a savior of the Philistines, to Vincent Van Gogh, tortured madman and impoverished artist caught in a bureaucratic vacuum as he waits for his Social Security benefits. . . . Brisk, inventive and intelligent, these stories do their own thing, and do it well."—Publishers Weekly

"Finger's unabashedly bold tales creatively reimagine outcasts real and invented."—Leah Strauss, Booklist

"Finger is a talented storyteller, delivering voices and situations with smooth conviction. The scenes she creates jump time and place without jarring the reader. . . . Finger has strength in her storytelling, and hopefully that strength will reach a wide audience."—Amy Halloran,

"A fascinating glimpse into the varieties of human difference."—Ben Hamilton,

"Refusing to smooth over the idiosyncrasies of history and human life, she has, instead, successfully written her text with them."—Alyssa Pelish, Rain Taxi

Table of Contents



Helen and Frida


The Artist and the Dwarf

Comrade Luxemburg and Comrade Gramsci Pass Each Other at a Congress of the Second International in Switzerland on the 10th of March, 1912



The Blind Marksman

Our Ned

Moby Dick, or, The Leg


Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction
Finalist for the Northern California Book Award, fiction category

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