Sam Reese is the author of Come the Tide, a collection of short stories, reviewed here. Hailing from Aotearoa/New Zealand, Sam is an insatiable traveller and self-confessed short story nerd. He has lived and worked in Sydney, London, and now York, and his fiction has found further homes in magazines around the world. When not writing stories, he is usually writing about them; his first critical work, The Short Story in Midcentury America, won the 2018 Arthur Miller Centre First Book Prize.
Come the Tide is a sun-soaked, water-drenched, variegated collection of thirteen short stories that explores the ambiguous psychic implications of the now-you-see-it/now-you-don’t liminal terrain where dry land meets restless water. Ancient myths haunt these tales of oceans and islands, lakes and swimming pools, while bodies of water of all kinds – with their dangers and temptations, promises and secrets – weigh heavily on human protagonists drowning in uncertainty, insecurity and betrayal.Continue reading
Fine writing transcends generic boundaries. Should we call An Incomplete List of My Wishes, Jendi Reiter’s outstanding collection of short stories, Southern fiction? Possibly, but only as long as we permit a Southern sensibility (however defined) to extend as far north as New York and Connecticut. Is it LGBTQ? Assuredly, yet the breadth of human response the book elicits encompasses far more than specific issues of sexual/gender identification. Is it historical? In part, but the 1990s reside still in many living memories and can comfortably coexist with the present. May we even call these prizewinning works short stories? Only if we allow that a short story need not necessarily tell a story, or that it can tell many stories all at once.
Golden Braid: A book review of Hairway to Heaven Stories, a collection of short stories by Patty Somlo
Many of the short stories in Patty Somlo’s Hairway to Heaven were previously published elsewhere. While each story can stand alone, reading them all together in a single volume is an enormous advantage. One of the major accomplishments of Hairway to Heaven is its interconnections and associations, its themes and variations, which gradually resolve themselves – effortlessly, beautifully – into a novelistic whole. Hairway to Heaven is a very good book indeed.