Godfall and Other Stories

Sandra M. Odell. Hydra House, $15.95 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-0-9979510-0-4
Odell’s powerful second collection (after The Twelve Ways of Christmas) is a diverse assemblage of short stories that demonstrate both versatility and mastery of the craft. The tone is often dark, ranging from the psychologically horrific “The Poison Eater,” in which a young man stuck in a small town undergoes a terrifying transformation, to the existential terror of “Godfall,” in which the world’s pantheon of deities dies off, one by one. Each story is carefully crafted to showcase both style and substance. “The Home for Broken” condemns full-time caregivers who treat their disabled charges as inconveniences; it’s balanced perfectly by the thoughtful hope in “Telling Stories.” The standout tale is “Ink,” an explanation of transformation’s cost that is infused with both joy and pain, presented subtly and with true emotion. The collection features a kaleidoscope of voices; each story brushes against multiple genres and is informed by some kernel of the author’s life, as explained in the fascinating author’s notes ending each segment. Odell’s excellent work marks her as a writer to watch. Agent: Caitlin McDonald, Donald Maass Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/12/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
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