Any Other Place

Michael Croley. Blair, $16.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-949467-00-0
Croley’s solid debut, set mostly in small-town Appalachia, explores masculinity, heartbreak, and isolation in 13 emotional stories. J.D. abandons his medical residency to return to his hometown of Fordyce, Ky. (the fictional setting for most of the stories), to raise the adolescent daughter of his unexpectedly dead best friend in “Two Strangers.” In “The Beginnings of a Storm,” James struggles to accept separation from his wife and regularly hires Jenna, a prostitute, as a way to avoid dealing with his feelings. Half-Korean Wren Asher is torn between leaving Fordyce for Harvard and his powerful unrequited crush on Lucinda after they have sex during a graduation bonfire in “Smolders.” In “The World’s Fair,” Maggie’s begrudging trip to the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tenn., incites panic when her 12-year-old son goes missing in a crowd. The narrator of the wrenching “Diamond Dust” ignores the abuse of his baseball teammate Eddie Jackson by Eddie’s exacting father from Little League into high school. In “Larger than the Sea,” the only story set outside the South, Paek Hyo, a Korean man, tries to escape forced conscription into the WWII Japanese army with devastating consequences for his wife. Readers will relish these melancholy stories of everyday and exceptional tragedies. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 03/08/2019
Release date: 04/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-949467-01-7
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