Where I Am Now

Robert Day, Author
Robert Day. BkMk Press (SPD, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (172p) ISBN 978-1-886157-82-8
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In this slim seven-story collection, Pushcart Prize-winner Day puts forth a lyrical and discerning love letter to agrarian living. He highlights the quotidian events which concern those who cultivate these pastoral regions and are in turn cultivated by them. The result is meticulously crafted storytelling filled with all-too human characters often harboring defining secrets, from the widow in "The One-Man Woodcutter" who shoots birds deemed unworthy of her birdfeeder, to the well-intentioned but philandering motel handyman of "The Skull Hunter." All of the stories are told in first-person narration, which bolsters the confessional quality in their portraits of fraught relationships and rural loneliness. In the collection's opener, "My Father Swims His Horse At Last," we are shown a quirky, jocular farmer through the eyes of his baffled son, their affection becoming manifest as they labor on the mostly fallow farm. Only occasionally does Day cross the line into excessive sentimentality, such as in the titular story, which seemingly invokes every stereotype about its romanticized backdrop of provincial France. For the most part, however, Day's prose feels fresh and compelling, making for warmly appealing stories in this, his fourth book and second collection of short fiction. Agent: Rob McQuilkin, Lippincott, Massie, & McQuilkin. (Nov.)
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