A Dozen Truths: 12 Works of Fiction. Lou Aronica (editor) and Aaron Brown (editor). The Story Plant. March 2017. 230 pp. ISBN #: 9781611882513.
Truth is redeeming but may not always lead a person where he or she imagined. The short stories within these pages, three of which won first short story awards, deal with perceptions of reality that startle the reader. The collection begins with “Join” by Eric Andersson in which a young man’s grief over his pet which becomes obsessive voices in his head that haunt his days and nights, increasing on an evening that should have been a break from his seclusion to join his long-neglected friends. The end of the story has a shockingly eerie, Ray Bradbury quality that is unforgettable. In Marcia Gloster’s “Losing Will,” a young woman knows her boss is a “lady’s man” who hits on every woman who works for him only this is not just a love ‘em and lose ‘em scenario; payback is probable and darn uncomfortable (tongue in cheek).
“Howard and Pablo” by Earl Javorsky pulls two of the most incomparable characters together – Howard Hughes and Pablo Casals. Hughes is rich enough to get whatever he wants and he wants the passionate music of Casals, but neither is ready for what emerges from the initial demand. In “Ollie” by Carmen Siegers, what gives that a child is more upset about the cat who has disappeared than the fact that the parents announce they are getting divorced?
My favorite story, “Lost” by Steven Manchester, is from the novel Ashes about two estranged brothers who travel together on a long trip and truly get to know each other in ways they never knew. It’s funny, poignant and life-changing!
Many of these stories seem to be about “loss,” losing which is part of every life, but often being of our own making rather than arbitrary events. It’s about affecting events rather than only being a victim of events. This reviewer can truly say that all of these writers have great skill. The reader is also provided with introductory sections to each story where one reads the biography, related works and thoughts about the thoughts behind each story.
Great contemporary fiction that this reviewer highly recommends!