This is a collection of short stories for adults. It is also interspersed with poetry, which I will not address. This review is based solely on the short stories.
The first one, “The Closet”, features an unusual child, Lexi, who is both a genius and a victim of bullying. From the day she is born, she struggles to connect with others. Fortunately, her mother loves her in spite of her nonstop screaming and increasingly antisocial behaviour. I sympathize greatly with mothers who have children with chronic illness autism, or other conditions which make connection challenging. This mother does an admirable job of loving her daughter in spite of the difficulties. It reminds me a little of We Need To Talk About Kevin without the bow and arrows but this mother is warmer.
In the second story, “Fading Frost”, a brilliant artist named Megan is incarcerated in a mental institution against her will by her father. I don’t know where or when this exactly took place but today, at least in Canada, there are review boards and safety procedures to prevent this kind of thing. However, it was fairly common up to even the 60s. The loyalty of her friends and her determination to survive intact make for a compelling story.
The third story, “Girls Night”, examines a strained relationship with an older sister, Miranda. While the sisters have good moments, on the whole Miranda is demanding and unappreciative. Her younger sister wants more from the relationship. It is also a story about memories. In the end, she finds what she needs with her mother. I loved the symbolism of the stains.
The fourth story, “Saying Goodbye”, considers the unexpectedness of death and how we react to it.
Although the stories tackle rather grim subjects and pull us deeply into the darkness of the characters, there is always a ray of hope. These characters are not quitters. In spite of their circumstances and, often their lack of support, they forge forward through life doing their best to cope with what is thrown at them.
Audrey N Lewis’s writing style is eminently readable. Her characterization is adept.
I would say that the lack of dialogue can make the stories demanding of focus. I found, in order to thoroughly enjoy them, I would read only one a day.
I found this collection intriguing.
The author will be interviewed on May 17, 2017 on this blog.