cover image The Freedom in American Songs: Stories

The Freedom in American Songs: Stories

Kathleen Winter. Biblioasis (Consortium, U.S. dist.; PGC, Canadian dist), $19.95 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-1-927-428-73-3

As in her often-brilliant novel Annabel, Winter's new collection offers empathetic examinations of people who don't quite fit within the narrow confines of society. A man runs into his childhood crush, who was his first and only homosexual encounter. A woman discovers a world of vacationers she wants no part of, "geriatric beachcomber couples tolerating each other in cold fury." Elsewhere, a homeless man practices flamenco, and an elderly woman is forced to care for a free-spirited girl. The common thread among Winter's characters is a yearning for freedom Besides her depth of sympathy, Winter breathes remarkable life into her settings. Late in the book, a character thinks, "I know how to love a place. I know how to listen to the voice of a brook and I know how to eat the kind of eels whose flesh in Pencil Cove is white and sweet when eaten with toast." Winter, too, knows how to love a place, and it shows. Agent: Shaun Bradley,Transatlantic Agency (Oct.)