cover image Cascade: Stories

Cascade: Stories

Craig Davidson. Norton, $15.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-393-86690-2

The six tales in Davidson’s wonderful and gritty collection return to the bucolic backdrop of Cataract City, a stand-in for Niagara Falls (and the title of Davidson’s earlier novel). Energized by a familial bond and propelled by tragedy, the opener, “The Ghost Lights,” depicts the frenzied rush of a car crash’s survivors. That bloodline bond hinges and anchors other stories where family runs deep regardless of occupation or circumstance, as in “The Vanishing Twin,” in which two teenage twin brothers trade stories of their “devilry” from inside the walls of a juvenile correctional facility and realize just how different they are from each other. The struggles of a burned-out social worker in the emotionally resonant “Friday Night Goon Squad” are palpable as she attempts to assuage her clients’ family issues while desperately trying to start a family of her own. A circus performer and a firefighter in “Medium Tough” and “Firebug” have their respective crosses to bear, and Davidson portrays each vividly. Throughout, the author displays deep empathy and conveys emotional resonance. The result is a blissful, wholly satisfying assemblage of cinematic stories, sure to please Davidson’s fans and attract newcomers. (Oct.)