Corporeality: Stories by Hollis Seamon
True to its title, Seamon's winning collection of short stories returns again and again to the question of how we reconcile ourselves to our bodies. Whether they're discovering their capabilities, accepting their eventual breakdown, or reveling in the twilight of their sexuality, the bodies in Seamon's stories show just how undependable they actually are. Love, kindness, and understanding exist in these stories, but they are often tempered by the promise of approaching tragedy. Death literally looms just out of sight, a neighborhood is threatened by natural disaster, affairs are begun and broken off, and evil bird-men and wolves move in next door. Seamon leavens her collection with generous amounts of humor, but the specter of destruction is what remains at the end. And though Seamon's stories run the gamut from modern fairy tales to coming-of-age stories and psychological character sketches, common traits prevail: more than one story is narrated by a middle-aged female, often an academic, who finds herself alone with only an old blind dog to keep her company. But to her credit, Seamon offers enough thematic and narrative variation to keep each story in this collection fresh.