cover image Stay Gone Days

Stay Gone Days

Steve Yarbrough. Ig, $17.95 trade paper (380p) ISBN 978-1-63246-135-3

Yarbrough (The Unmade World) follows two estranged sisters through their tottering lives in his meditative latest. Ella and Caroline Cole grow up in the Mississippi Delta and attend an all-white private school. After their father dies in an accident in 1975, the sisters drift apart. Driven, academic Ella moves to Boston to attend Berklee to study voice. She drops out after a professor takes advantage of her sexually and later marries a music producer, with whom she lives a life of comfort. Caroline wanders across the country, ending up in California on the run from a controlling, charismatic ex-boyfriend after witnessing him commit armed robbery. Yarbrough shuffles his chronicle of Ella’s up and down marriage, persistent search for her sister, and growing drinking problem with Caroline’s move to Eastern Europe in the early 1990s to teach English. Eventually, Caroline launches an auspicious writing career that brings the sisters back together and forces them to face the past they both avoided for decades. Setting up a smooth structure and writing in relaxed prose, Yarbrough manages to convey the rhythms of everyday life along with the characters’ trauma. Readers will enjoy getting caught up in these two women’s faltering lives. (Apr.)