In Scott Blackwood's debut collection of thematically linked stories, people live on the cusp of the past and present, saddled with the knowledge that "sometimes what you're thinking can't be dovetailed with what you do.”Set in Austin, Texas, the nine stories are told in spare language freighted with a sense of loss and dread, responsibility and fate. The characters in BlaIn Scott Blackwood's debut collection of thematically linked stories, people live on the cusp of the past and present, saddled with the knowledge that "sometimes what you're thinking can't be dovetailed with what you do.”Set in Austin, Texas, the nine stories are told in spare language freighted with a sense of loss and dread, responsibility and fate. The characters in Blackwood's narratives face the result of the irrevocable choice they've made, accept their losses, and attempt to forge something meaningful out of what remains of their frayed connections to one another.In “Alias,” a man grapples with the decision to kidnap his step-daughter's child and raise her himself. During a medical crisis, a woman in "New Years" is forced to confront her growing estrangement from her teenage son and comfort her ex-husband's lover. In "Worry," a fifteen-year-old faces his father's infidelity and his own darkening vision of himself and the world around him. And in the title story, neighbors ponder what, if anything, they can do about the disappearance from their midst of Odie Dodd, an aging physician who witnessed the Jonestown mass suicide in Guyana.The moments Blackwood takes his stories to are small and quiet, but they contain whole worlds with wisdom coming at you—slow, certain, indelible....
|Title||:||In the Shadow of Our House: Stories|
|Number of Pages||:||170 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
In the Shadow of Our House: Stories Reviews
In the Shadow of Our House is a collection of stories set in and around a neighborhood in Austin, Texas, that deals primarily with characters living and dealing with the "shadows" of their pasts and the choices they've made. A few of the characters recur in multiple stories, and this, coupled with the shared setting, gives a strong sense of unity to the collection. This, Scott Blackwood's first collection, is full of finely wrought stories that do an excellent job of dropping the reader into the world of the story right from the beginning - at least three open with dialog - but never once did I feel lost, nor did I have to go back and reread. There are moments in several of the stories where Blackwood doesn't shy away from his character's thoughts or feelings, no matter how scary or violent they may be. For example, in the story "Riverfest," Phil's wife, who may or may not be having an affair (the story seems to center on this), says that she went out after work and Phil smiles and replies, "Seems reasonable." Then we get: "He wanted to hit her, to see his trembling fingers clap to her mouth, her teeth blood-flecked." Later in the same story, Phil pictures his wife straddling her lover and thinks what it would be like to walk up behind her with telephone cord and strangle her. Of course Blackwood is not condoning domestic violence, and I don't want to give the impression that the entire collection is like this, because it's not, I merely want to point out how difficult that sometimes is to pull off in a short story. It takes guts, and I admire that.I'm also interested in the way Blackwood ends some of his stories. Many of them end before I expected them to, as if Blackwood were stopping just short in order to further complicate our understanding of these characters and their "shadowed" lives.
Scott pulls no punches in this blunt look at the modern American psyche. There are no tidy endings or ironic reversals. What we get are scraps from the lives of everyday Austin citizens struggling for wholeness, wracked with grief and regret. Scott's language is sparse and direct; no words are wasted. He makes the mundane drip with emotion, and captures the fleeting nature of intimacy in each vignette with broken marriages and estranged children. Fans of Faulkner, McCarthy, and Sam Mendes will find much to enjoy.