In “The Jumper,” security coordinator Ali, whose job locale moves every 10 weeks to keep its location a secret, stuns Spink when she recounts narrowly averting an employee suicide, while “Secrets” explores the complicated intergenerational dynamics of a father lamenting the loss of relationships with his children. Spink takes on the anxieties of immigration in “The Svislach,” a story that follows Nathan as he vacillates between choosing to stay in his hometown of Minsk or moving to Seattle for better opportunities. When glimpses of Mt. Rainier afford Nathan an immediate connection with his driver, his unease at being in a new country starts to fade: “Everything was foreign and new, yet for some reason it was starting to feel like a homecoming.” Spink continues that thread of community in “Magic,” with trans passenger Miranda, who finds belonging and a sliver of hope from her psychic neighbor’s words of wisdom—“We’re not meant to be alone. Working in cubicles, living in studio apartments, keeping to ourselves. We need love. Friendship. Even enemies and exes.”
The highlight of Spink’s storytelling is his poignant portrayal of sensitive relationships. He avoids providing easy solutions to life’s problems, instead conferring a sense of security and solace through sharing his riders’ woes, essentially paving a “way toward being whole” for both rider and reader alike.
Takeaway: An Uber driver reveals our universal need for connection in this touching collection.
Great for fans of: Corie Adjmi’s Life and Other Shortcomings, D. Wystan Owen’s Other People’s Love Affairs.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: B+