Michael Nye's second story collection addresses themes of marital and familial estrangement, ways of trespass, the intractable mysteries and frights of modern life, the uncertainty of knowledge and truth, the gulfs between people and the technology we use, the frailty of our economic lives—all while underlining throughout the persistence of love.
Michael Nye’s second collection...is a sturdily Midwestern affair, a heartbreaking look at lives fueled by sadness and rage, set in a part of the country people so often leave but never seem to arrive ... Across nine stories, Nye introduces us to individuals who are defined and often repulsed by their jobs in a way that feels uniquely American ... Even Nye’s eerie and disquieting forays into genre, 'The Sins of Man' and 'The Good Shepherd,' are circumscribed by the protagonists’ mundane finances ... These are mostly narratives of straight men, and though women are ever-present, only 'The Photograph' centers entirely on one. It’s perhaps the collection’s only hollow moment, acting more as an authorial indictment of New York City than an exploration of its protagonist’s personal trauma. But it’s a brief stumble in an otherwise haunting and delicate collection ... though plenty can call a Midwestern city their hometown, Until We Have Faces is the tender, aching work of one who calls it home.
... this stoic, grim collection follows men who process emotions through violence, anger, and alcohol and find describing their feelings the 'hardest thing to do' ... Despite the moping, drinking, and brawls, there’s hope here that happiness will not remain a 'ridiculous, arrogant idea' for these men if only they can reconsider what happy means. Fans of Nye’s work will welcome this.