cover image What We Save for Last: Stories

What We Save for Last: Stories

Corinne Demas, Corinne Demas Bliss. Milkweed Editions, $11 (115pp) ISBN 978-0-915943-69-2

Throughout these bittersweet tales, women's past losses linger as a white noise in the background of otherwise fulfilled lives. In one a happily married woman finds her birthday given a sharp edge of pleasurable regret by the card that arrives each year from a former lover. Vacationers are mistaken for honeymooners even as the woman grieves over the death of her young daughter. A newspaper editor befriends a child who seems intentionally lost and in a tacit collusion with her mother to find a more loving home. The past and present fuse, as when a woman's childhood recollection of her mother's momentary hesitation before going to the aid of her injured son is superimposed on the reality of the demanding, ailing mother for whom she now cares. Another woman understands in retrospect the suppressed passion she glimpsed as a child between her father and a female colleague. Intense childhood experiences--a brother-sister canoe trip that turns perilous, a sister's last, emotion-fraught Christmas at home before leaving for college--segue into family myth even as they occur. Imbued with an awareness of the precariousness of security, these stories make unsettling, poignant reading. Bliss wrote The Same River Twice. (Apr.)