Aftermath: Stories of Secrets and Consequences

Edited by Rayne Debski. Main Street Rag (mainstreetrag.com), $15.95 trade paper (342p) ISBN 978-1-59948-384-9
Editor Debski’s unifying principle for this erratic anthology of 23 short stories that examine the unhappy lives of working-class people in the wake of tragedy, is “secrets, those things that are intentionally withheld, not widely known, or not understood.” In the first story, “Legend,” a young hiker tells the story he’s “told only twice—first to the state police and federal officials, and second to my mom and dad,” about protecting the victims of an aircraft disaster from coyotes. The narrator of “Another Pittsburgh Bus Story” examines attitudes on a crowded bus as a passenger dies, remembering, years later, the man’s necktie. As with almost any anthology, there are great stories (“The Vatican’s Secret Cabinet” by Daniel Perlman, and Glenn Cassidy’s “Hearts and Minds” among them) and some clunkers. But the diversity and range of styles is engaging, and more often than not the stories are entertaining, funny, or haunting. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/08/2012
Genre: Fiction
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