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Ray Sikorski

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Somebody likes me!
Tuesday, February 19, 2002  11:37:00 PM

by Ray Sikorski

The following review was written by Kathleen English for the Hofstra University Chronicle (Hempstead, New York). I just figured I'd share it with the world.

Book Review: Driftwood Dan and Other Adventures

Ray Sikorski’s first novel, Driftwood Dan and Other Adventures, is a combination of short stories set in the American West. With each story, the author unearths a different side of what is commonly known as “the unknown of America.” The stories depict an area categorized by tourism, capitalism and the inevitable exploitation of our country’s natural wonders, namely Yellowstone National Park.

The main character of the novella, Dan, works behind the scenes in the park, bearing testimony to the gritty and absolutely unglamorous life as a minimum wage-earning blue collar worker. Driftwood Dan is an unaspiring rambler who bumbles on from each menial job to the next, while describing the irreverence of backstage Yellowstone with wit, laugh-out-loud humor and sarcasm. The situations and characters Sikorski presents to test Dan are beyond inventive; they are downright comical.

The relaxed dialogue and casual language make Driftwood Dan an easy and light read. The characters and situations are based on Sikorski’s own experiences as a roamer in the Yellowstone region, which adds to the humor of the story. The reader will find himself asking, “Could people like this realy exist?” It is, by far, much different from anything found on Long Island, and sheds light to an area of this country that is not frequently recognized in literature.

The “Other Adventures” are a baker’s dozen of other short stories, which do not exceed more than a few pages in length each. The anecdotes mirror familiar characters and settings as encountered in Driftwood Dan’s world, and are a delightful read perfect for the reader with little time to devote to an entire novel. Some stories are lacking in comparison to Driftwood Dan, yet others are short gems hidden at the end of the novel. They give testament to Sikorski’s youthful imagination and prove he has much more to offer the literary world.

One delightful short story was entitled “The Tinker.” Focusing on an old, burnt-out writer, one could not help but wonder if the defeat and frustration Tinker felt mirrored feelings Sikorski also encountered. Tinker waits for his big break, in the meantime torturing himself and thinking he has dues to pay. The sotry is short, only two-and-a-half pages in length, but thrusts the reader into the world of this character, showing insight in a very short amount of text. Sikorski’s ability to write a well-developed short story will help define him among the writers of his generation.

Driftwood Dan and Other Adventures is a fun book to read. Besides the humor and quirky characters, the the reader actually becomes interested in Dan and the other narrators of the stories. For Sikorski to be able to grab a reader’s attention after just a couple of pages is indeed an accomplishment. The author’s imagination and experiences will also affect his staying power in today’s literary world.

There is the sense that if Sikorski sticks to writing about the things he has encountered while also experimenting with a little make-believe, he will gain a fair audience of devoted readers. Driftwood Dan and Other Adventures is not only a good first novel, but also a solid piece of literature overall.


Driftwood Dan and Other Adventures is available on and at

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