SHORT STORIES

Come Westand See: Stories

Norton. May 2018. 208p. ISBN 9780393635584. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393635591. F
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In this fresh first collection from Nelson Algren winner Loskutoff, refugees from civilization gather in the Northwest and sometimes violently resist intrusion. First, though, an opening story unfolding in 1890s Montana territory sets the mood; a trapper falls in love with a bear, reluctantly heads into town for female company when she hibernates, and succumbs to vicious jealousy when he returns to find she has a cub. In the present day, a desperate woman forces her boyfriend to drive her across state lines to find a vet who will treat her injured coyote, abandoning man for animal when they arrive. A fellow from Montana takes his wife to her family's cabin in Michigan, where a frightening encounter makes him realize that "the safety I dreamt of bringing Kimia, and our daughter, was only that: a dream." In the final story, another couple arrives from "traitor country" shot full of arrows even as federal soldiers gather across the mountains.
VERDICT The stories don't always connect as much as one is led to expect, but the writing is sure-footed and the disquieting sense of a world upended successfully delivered.

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