A Quiet Shelter There: An Anthology to Benefit Homeless Animals

Edited by Gerri Leen. Hadley Rille (Ingram, dist.), $12 trade paper (242p) ISBN 978-0-692-49710-4
Leen has assembled this satisfactory anthology of pet-centric short stories, flash fiction, and poetry in support of the Virginia animal shelter charity Friends of Homeless Animals. Readers will fine a surprisingly wide variety of literary and genre fiction here, ranging from Kevin Lauderdale's unabashedly folkloric "Olaf and Lars" to the pseudo-magical realism in Shauna Roberts's surprising, Hurricane Katrina–inspired "Bosphorus Dreams." Some of the finest stories in the collection contain speculative elements. Standouts "Star Crossing" by A.B. Treadwell and Rachel Towns's "Captain Duck and Lieutenant Biggles" examine the emotional investment on both sides of the pet-owner relationship. "Charlie" by Carla Richards puts a neat spin on a pet owner's bereavement that is sure to dampen the eyes of every reader. Other pieces mine severely over-tilled ground, such as Dana Barnett's cloying "The Beginning of a Wonderful Life" and Christina Lovin's trite "Shadow," but most steer away from cliché. The collection as a whole is hardly groundbreaking, but the gems make it well worth browsing. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/19/2015
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