Stella Maris: And Other Key West Stories

Michael Carroll. Turtle Point, $17 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-885983-68-8
Carroll’s unvarnished second collection (after Little Reef) explores the lives of people in Key West, especially those who travel there for a relaxing respite and instead find truths about themselves and their mortality. In “Sugar and Gold,” Dale, an older man, listens to the chatter of the attendees of a cruise ship, from young guys scrolling through Grindr to Ohioan Trump supporters to rich dinner party hosts, ultimately deciding love “was hanging in, through disease and bankruptcy. And then it was nothing.” “Primal Recognition” follows the trajectory of the relationship between Gene, a Vietnam vet in hospice, and Rick, his poetry-writing partner, reflecting on how queer relationships fundamentally differed between those who survived AIDs and those who grew up reading about it. Carroll’s strongest stories include “Stella Maris, Star of the Sea,” about how a gay man and straight woman love each other while they face jealousy from their friends, and “Key West Funeral,” about the complex emotions that the death of Marine turned drag queen Cherry de Vine evokes at her funeral. Carroll’s characters confront their aging with a mixture of desperation and grim determination that makes for a poignant and potent collection. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/31/2019
Release date: 04/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-885983-69-5
MP3 CD - 978-1-7136-2596-4
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