FICTION

The Mighty Currawongs & Other Stories

Red Hen. Sept. 2016. 160p. ISBN 9781597090520. pap. $15.95. SHORT STORIES
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In the brief but effective story that introduces this new collection from Doyle (Mink River), the protagonist experiences a moment when "everything cracked." It's hardly filled with swelling strings or the promise of happily ever after, but it does signal a real divide. In his quiet and economical way, Doyle excels at capturing such moments. Sometimes the change is momentous, as when a jazz band's singer suddenly loses a certain key texture to her voice; other times, as when the archbishop loses his faith, the consequences aren't as thunderbolt-shattering as expected. And yet other times, it's the reader's consciousness that cracks; an increasingly rancorous exchange between a couple that seems sure to end in violence or breakup surprises us by ending "Did you remember to buy toilet paper and coffee beans?" Relationships can be like that.
VERDICT Solid and enjoyable reading for those who want well-crafted stories about everyday life.

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