James Gallant, a native Ohioan, won the 2019 Schaffner Press Prize for music-in-literature with his short story collection, La Leona, and Other Guitar Stories. Another book, Verisimilitudes: essays and approximations, published by Fortnightly Review (UK) in 2018, is a gathering of his essays and short fiction. He has been an online columnist for the Review since 2015, (http://fortnightlyreview.co.uk/category/verisimilitudes/).
Was the experience of “community” in an Ohio town during Ervin’s lifetime fundamentally more compelling and authentic than has been possible after the post-war economic boom? Or should Ervin’s passion for organizing and social service be seen as an attempt to compensate for an actual fragility of communal life?