The Affliction: A Novel in Stories

Four Way. Mar. 2018. 154p. ISBN 9781945588068. pap. $17.95. F
Full-time physician Young has won numerous fellowships for his poetry, compiled most recently in 2016's The Halo. Here he turns to fiction, demonstrating the easy grace that defines his verse. (He has published short stories but offers a book-length work for the first time.) Capturing a community, these linked stories open with "The Affliction," which details Javier Castillo's astonishing ability to disappear and reappear at will. It seems like such a gift—he "could travel around the world like air itself"—but to the story's narrator, it starts becoming tiresome. And of course being invisible, like so many people in marginalized communities, is as disquieting as being among the "disappeared" of Latin American history. Elsewhere, Rosa hears a terrible prediction from the fortune teller; Old Cassie, once a nun, inherits a great estate and terrorizes her neighbors; and Leenck, who bandaged an injured leg too tightly, nearly has it amputated but is freed by a swift machete stroke from his standoffish father.
VERDICT A heartfelt and well-crafted work.
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