My Book World
These three novellas, each one striking for its individuality, are immensely satisfying. The longer-than-a-story-but-shorter-than-a-novel format seems to be perfect for each narrative. My favorite character in The Summer He Didn’t Die, the title novella, is Berry, a child who is born with alcohol fetal syndrome. She is mute but indicates by her actions, quick and sprite-like, how she shall act upon the world and its many rules. Most of the action is of her family (excepting her wayward mother) evading Michigan’s children’s protective agency and depositing their lives over the border in Canada so that Berry can live out her life in peace. Republican Wives, hilarious for its verisimilitude (uncannily written for a male writer), takes readers inside the minds of three different women, friends since childhood, who have been hoodwinked for the last time by a man (also a college acquaintance) with whom they have all had affairs (mostly at different times). Tracking tells the story of an author who outlines his literary career and personal life, from feckless yet ardent college boy to a grandpa, finally finished with world travel and content to be near his grown children and grandchildren. The collection is a great testament to the novella form in which it is just the right length to tell each one of these stories.
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