Souby’s characters are expertly drawn. All are driven by clear emotions and desires, motivating them to act out in ways that range from tender to violent. The storylines that focus on how people navigate relationships with one another are believable and intimate, especially in stories such as “Nymphs, Woods & Cottages,” in which a man meets his future wife while she’s camping out in the woods after leaving her abusive home.
The contrast between the study of relationships and the darkness in some of the stories adds depth to the collection. While the violence of “Monkey Business” examines the retribution of the monkeys against the minister who harmed them, the cannibalism of “Eloi Reduction” as perpetrated by Hollywood moguls is more darkly disturbing than anything else in the book. While some elements may shock some readers, literary audiences with wide-ranging tastes will be drawn to the collection’s variety and depth.
Takeaway: Fans of eclectic short stories will appreciate these intimate, tender, sometimes disturbing narratives.
Great for fans of Alice Munro’s Dear Life, Richard Russo’s Trajectory.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B-