Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

Written by K. R. Wilson
Review by Katie Stine

This picaresque journey of the immortal “Stan” is a colloquial guide through specific eras of history. Though the narrative begins in modern times, serving as a frame for Stan’s long-lived recounting, the story itself begins with his birth in the Bronze Age. Initially killed as a teenager in a skirmish, by an Egyptian charioteer with a particularly brutal spear aim, Stan recovers, returning home to find that his family has moved along as though he were dead. Including marrying his wife off to his half-brother. Eventually, his tell-tale problem surfaces: he does not age. He learns that he cannot stay in one place for too long. On his meanderings, he encounters a Trojan princess giving birth, helps raise a proto-Nordic Wotan, finds Buddhist mystics, early Jewish hermits, makes friends with Jesus, defends an Italian monastery from raiding Visigoths, and snogs Richard Wagner, despite the composer’s narcissistic anti-Semitism.

I thoroughly enjoyed every journey, yet the contemporary framing was off-putting for me. Theoretically, the overarching issue was resolved at the end, with a nod to the film The Usual Suspects—but I was left with more questions. Many more. Wilson promises a second tome, presumably to extend the story, but I hope the sequel will also answer some of these long-lived questions.