cover image The Protestor Has Been Released

The Protestor Has Been Released

Janet Sarbanes. C&R Press, $18 trade paper (194p) ISBN 978-1-936196-65-4

Sarbanes weaves characters both familiar and unknown—such as Koko the signing gorilla and the first daughter of an unnamed president—into these 10 stories and one novella that give readers glimpses into lives they might hear about but never fully understand. In “Meet Koko,” the gorilla writes up her own version of events that contrasts with human interpretations of her behavior in both amusing and ultimately heartbreaking ways. In “Laika Hears the Music of the Spheres,” the most famous dog in space experiences fits of uncertainty and loss as she realizes what has been done to her. For the novella, “The First Daughter Finds Her Way,” the titular daughter tries desperately to stop her father from going to war. The characters in these stories feel familiar, even in the most extreme situations, because they struggle with issues of vulnerability and being unable to act or to be heard. They turn to art, language, and hope, and even when they fail, Sarbanes shows that there is always beauty and sometimes humor in the trying. (Apr.)