Distant Flickers: Stories of Identity & Loss is an anthology of engaging short fiction that varies in subject, style and tone. As the subtitle suggests, explorations in identity and the different faces of loss provide a thematic focus for the collection. After each story, an extended bio, author perspective on the story, and information about the author’s other publications is provided, and I really like that. So often in an anthology I don’t feel that I “meet” the writers of the short stories or poems. Here, I am asked to slow down and get to know them a bit.
Every story in the book is special, but I will write about just a few of my favorites. In “1975: East Ocean View,” Elizabeth Gauffreau develops a character study of a young woman whose childhood has been ended by the birth of a baby. The girl, unexposed to early feminism, hasn’t had a chance to grow up on her own, but instead must negotiate a life of poverty with an immature husband and a baby. Gauffreau’s skill with deft understatement and deep understanding is clear in this piece. “1975: East Ocean View” serves as a reminder to me of the best of the short story genre—and what I love about it. No big splash, but lots of dangerous undercurrents. In her second story in the book, “Diary Omissions: The House on Edgewood Road,” Gauffreau demonstrates a flair for dry humor even as she writes poignantly of a family tragedy.
“Two Boys,” by Carol LaHines, is a thought-provoking look at a mother’s loss. The approach to the subject, as well as the writing style, reminds me of Shirley Jackson’s delightful and unsettling “domestic” stories.
“Where Secrets Go to Hide” by Keith Madsen is a charming and humorous exploration of what makes a secret a secret. An undercurrent of darkness occasionally breaks the surface and shows itself, thus providing tension and suspense to the story.
I enjoyed all the stories in the collection immensely. You couldn’t ask for a more satisfying variety of approaches to both identity and loss. The protagonist in “1975; East Ocean View” has lost her future even as she has lost her past. In this way she is in danger of losing her self. In “Two Boys,” the loss affects the mother’s and the child’s sibling’s identities. Madsen’s story is about the loss of innocence, which affects the identity of the protagonist and his family.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the guest posts and interviews on the blog tour. I’m always open to more interactive blog experiences related to my new book haha.
If you’ve been so kind to read Rooted and Winged I beg you to leave a review at Amazon. Even if it’s only one or two sentences it really helps. If you are on Goodreads, please consider pasting the review over there as well.
The poem takes place at the lake where my family lived summer. In the following photo, I am about 11 or 12. The lake was not large, but seemed like three lakes that flowed together because of the configuration of the shoreline. In fact, everyone called the different parts first lake, second lake, and third lake. The last was shallow and swampy with weeds sticking up out of the water. You could see the lake bottom from your boat.
Today’s stop on the Rooted and Winged blog tour by Poetic Book Tours is an interview of me by The Book Connection. The photos I am sharing here of my maternal grandparents (in Kalamazoo) are to complement the interview.