From the Catskills to New South Wales, from the remote and abandoned island outports of Newfoundland to the sprawl of a North American metropolis, these stories show how the places where we choose to live our lives can just as easily turn us inward as outward.
There are elisions, stories narrated in future-conditional tense, a kind of poetic compression that sees days and weeks, whole seasons and whole years stack up against each other, one by one ... There’s a love of language here, of course, but these words and phrases do important work within the stories: they are pivots, sometimes, or time machines, and they’re remarkable for the poetic compression that they allow. They carry histories, and whole relationships, as well as an abundance of charm ... Grief is complex, in these stories, and many-layered, but it’s also handled gently by Rowe: more often than not, it’s hinted at, rather than approached directly, usually the exact nature of the trauma unfolds slowly within the stories, or is kept hidden entirely ... Josephine Rowe’s stories are about beauty, moments of unexpected and lingering magic that interrupt or punctuate the everyday.
In Rowe’s first short-story collection, the Australian author’s talent for relating her very human characters’ rich interior lives is even more on display than in her impressive debut novel ... Often, Rowe pierces through threatening clouds with humor, especially in her genuine, clever dialogue. Taking place in Canada, Australia, and the U.S., these expansive tales are bound to grip, surprise, and enrapture short-story lovers.
Rowe is a writer of great subtlety, and what could, in lesser hands, be quiet stories from familiar emotional landscapes become revelatory here. Rowe’s shape shifting, capturing the nuances of different nationalities effortlessly, is almost as remarkable as the precise, delicate, and frequently witty prose ... Pitch-perfect examinations of place and psyche from a writer to watch closely.