Selections from three previous collections, as well as 30 new stories (also headed “Terrarium”) comprise this excellent volume from Trueblood. The arrangement itself shows Trueblood’s shift to much shorter stories, particularly in the new selections. In “Phantom Father,” young Michele’s obsession with her mother’s first husband, Alonzo, who committed suicide and whom Michele never met, shadows her well into adulthood. The strangeness of obsession and family dynamics also figure prominently in the newer stories “The Tamarins” and “Helen of Troy.” In the longer stories, Trueblood’s direct and emotional prose draws the reader in, while the recent shorter pieces have a punchy, declarative flavor. In “Sleepover,” grandmother Angie, recently recovered from a heart attack, muses over decades as she chaperones a teenager’s birthday party that gets out of control. Some of the same themes recur in the newer stories, “Aliens: Saving the Child” and “Two Birthdays.” Across these 49 stories, Trueblood provides breadth, depth, and something even more—a window into her evolution as a writer. The earlier stories bear resemblance to Alice Munro’s, while the later are reminiscent of Lydia Davis’s; but throughout, Trueblood projects her own unique voice. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/25/2018 Release date: 08/01/2018 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.