Stories of uncommon depth and style: A new standard
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 23 years ago
Now that I've read Melanie Rae Thon's GIRLS IN THE GRASS, I know what's possible from truly great short stories--and there's no reason to settle for anything less.I first read one of Thon's stories, "Iona Moon," in a small literary magazine a few years ago. Used to short fiction that lacked engaging plots, complex characters, and that left me ultimately dissatisfied, I was startled by Thon's sustained, narrative energy, bold characters, and lyrical prose. But there was something else that, at the time, I couldn't quite identify--now that I've read her collection, I realize that Thon is a writer with a moral vision out of which she creates characters of great vitality and vulnerability who struggle with questions of faith, guilt, power, desire, redemption, love. For me, this kind of depth and craft makes reading short fiction incredibly rewarding.A few examples--There are three best girlfriends in Thon's title story, "Girls in the Grass," teasing with the pleasures and confusions of sexual desire and friendship. There's the twelve-year-old girl in the chilling story "Punishment," who is haunted throughout her lifetime by her complicity in the hanging of a slave in 1858 on her family's plantation. There's the young girl in "Repentence," whose resentment of her senile grandmother leads her to discover her own wickedness and desire. There's the aging male professor in "Small Crimes" whose clumsy seduction of a promising, younger woman poet opens up her painful, revealing past.Each story is in itself fully realized, but each gains meaning and power from its arrangement in the collection. Beautifully crafted and large in their scope and emotional complexity, Thon's stories offer readers a powerful, transforming experience.
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