cover image The Uninnocent

The Uninnocent

Bradford Morrow. Pegasus (Norton, dist.), $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-60598-265-6

Conjunctions founding editor Morrow (The Diviner’s Tale), creates beautifully dark and soulfully intimate stories in his first collection, featuring characters who, though hardly citizens of virtue, reveal their true colors with little remorse. Each tale is told close at hand, with first-person narrators drawing the reader into their confidence, making readers complicit in shadowy inner workings that they don’t completely understand. A man who enjoys collecting trinkets sets his sights dangerously on his brother’s girlfriend in “The Hoarder.” A blind man, in “Amazing Grace,” regains his sight only to realize that the enlightened life he had imagined for himself is actually shrouded in darkness. After misplacing his mind, a man finds that, “whereas before he was dependable (had been with the same accounting firm for fifteen years, was the star shortstop on their interleague softball team), he now became not just unreliable, but entirely unpredictable,” in “Mis(Laid).” In the sinister “Tsunami,” a wife and mother relays the details of her unraveled marriage, remaining matter-of-fact: “This story doesn’t get any better, so if you wanted to stop here I certainly wouldn’t blame you. I can even tell you what happens so you won’t have to bother.” Morrow’s stories are hauntingly honest and linger in the consciousness. (Dec.)