Fever Dogs

Kim O’Neil. Triquarterly, $17.95 trade paper (124p) ISBN 978-0-8101-3549-9
Seven interconnected stories plumb the murky depths of a family history in O’Neil’s debut collection. “How to Draw from Life” introduces Jean Bridges, a young woman at an intersection of dead ends: her job, love life, and family are all fading away quietly around her. From this contemporary starting point, the collection retreats into the past, seeking and rarely finding solace in the stories that came before. Questions Jean wants answered by her mother, Jane, begin each subsequent story—“How did your sister die?”, “Why did you leave?”, “How did you meet?”—though knowing Jane’s reticence to delve into such things, it’s unclear what is truth and what Jean has constructed to assuage her own emptiness. What is clear throughout is that one generation’s survival trait is another’s wound: a girl who saves her future husband becomes the mother of children who die; a mother who nurtures pets and patients fails to connect with her daughter. Rooted in the mostly real geography of Massachusetts across the 20th century, O’Neil’s stinging stories of unremarkable adulthoods create a resounding, hollow feeling where love and hope could have been. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/05/2017
Release date: 08/01/2017
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-0-8101-3550-5
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