2014 – July 23 – All That Trouble
It’s the 23rd, and time for “All That Trouble” by Darryl Price.
Hey, Doc, did you hear? They tell me I’m going home pretty soon. Probably next week, next week sometime. I won’t know what to do with myself.
I’m going to miss you, Doc. You’ve been a real good friend to me, which to all but us chickens seems like a funny kind of thing to say to someone in your position, I know, but I mean it. You’ve kept the fox at bay.
We’ve come a long way in this story line, from psychotic break to near-normalcy. Last month, I wrote this: “Here it’s been a gradual change in balance between Continue reading
2014 – July 22 – Heat Rises
It’s the 22nd, time to read “Heat Rises” by Margaret Bingel.
July in the city is a humid, sticky time of the year, but the weathermen claim the heat wave should be over in a few days. Ned and his mother are drinking iced tea while standing in the back doorway of his apartment, Ned with one foot on the back stoop, his mother’s head sticking just outside. Nadia gnaws on an ice cube, belly flat on the kitchen linoleum.
This month, Ned continues his post-coma recovery. Last month he adopted a dog. This month, the dog, Nadia (interestingly, the same name as yesterday’s protagonist, who lives with two Continue reading
2014 – July 21 – Discipline
On the 21st we’re reading “Discipline,” by Mandy Nicol.
“I knew Persephone would like the Colonel,” says Mum, feeding another sliver of KFC to the Pomeranian perched on her lap at the dining room table.
This storyline does not lend itself particularly well to analysis of its arc. For the most part it’s been a story about relationship, and dogs, with crisp character observations and well executed story segments. Last month focused on Mum’s disapproval of Nadia’s new boyfriend. Mum is good at disapproval and creating drama.
Mum slaps her hands on the table. “If you’d listened to me you’d have had plenty of time to do the shirts! You’d have Continue reading
2014 – July 20 – Playing With the Big Boys
On the 20th we’re reading “Playing With the Big Boys” by Sally-Anne Macomber.
I don’t know what it is about you Milton but you keep me awake at night! You’re like the strong silent type except you might not be so strong now because you might also be dead.
It’s been six months since Trudy heard back from Milton and she’s beginning to worry about her book moving forward. In classic passive-aggressive fashion, she offers up a personal confession and turns it into a guilt trip.
Well, I have a lot of secrets, Milton, I’m just very choosy who I keep them from. Because I believe in human happiness and the pursuit of Continue reading
2014 – July 19 – The Trencher Mansion
It’s the 19th, time for “The Trencher Mansion” by Gay Degani. (reviewed by Susan Tepper)
“The Oaks and sycamores along the Old Road offer shade, but do nothing to alleviate the oppressive heat.”
And so begins the latest installment of Gay Degani’s monthly story cycle.
We readers are also experiencing the oaks, sycamores, heat and other of nature’s elements written with a clarity unbending as the natural light and the darkness of her stories, set on the 19th of each month.
The land, or landscapes, seem to work as subliminal characters informing the plot. The plot conflict continues. People gone missing. Other people searching for the missing. My own mind is focused on Continue reading
2014 – July 18 – Birthday Boy
The 18th brings “Birthday Boy” by Stephen V. Ramey (reviewed by Andrew Stancek).
“Concrete steps lead down to the right…This is where I slept last night…We’re safe.”
Stephen, Stephen Ramey’s protagonist, is continuing his downward journey in concrete in this month’s installment. He’s left behind the comforts of home, such as they were, and joined the ranks of the homeless. The cancerous nodules in his prostate continue to press him, to make life as it had been unbearable, but Stephen for the time being is only capable of spinning away from diagnosis, from treatment, from carrying-on, looking for answers and temporary safety in the underbelly of New Castle. “Lay low,” his homeless mentor Continue reading
2014 – July 17 – The Best Time to Die
It’s the 17th and we’re reading “The Best Time to Die” by Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz.
Diane, who’s been waiting, lifts her hand and waves when Aaron, with Phil in the passenger seat, drives up. She’s sitting on the wooden FOR SALE sign staked in the lawn.
“I’d buy that,” Phil says under his breath.
This cycle has been an interesting experience in social bonding. What happens when a bunch of presumably lonely suicidal people get together? Will it become a Death of the Month Club or a Suicide Sweethearts Club? Last month we had our first death, Vincent, who wasn’t actually one of the Continue reading