Fiction from Abbott, Andrews, Barron, Hall, Hart, and McCarthy, plus a Debut | Xpress Reviews
By April 5, 2018 Leave a CommentWeek ending April 6, 2018 on
Abbott, Patricia. I Bring Sorrow: And Other Stories of Transgression. Polis. Mar. 2018. 320p. ISBN 9781943818877. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781947993006. F
Transgression is the central theme in this stellar collection by Abbott (Concrete Angel; Shot in Detroit). Each diminutive story packs a wallop, with plots as varied as the characters that inhabit them. The standout tale “Pox” describes a harrowing attempt by a grieving mother to save her family from a smallpox epidemic. A bleak but surprisingly redemptive story, “Won’t You Pardon Me?” focuses on a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who committed a sin years ago that he can never make right. Creating a bleak and dystopian future in diary form, “The Annas” transports the reader to 2097, where all but a select few humans remain. Abbott’s craftsmanship is on full display in the short story milieu, with an underlying sense of tragic destiny in each of these selections. The pieces can alternatively leave one with a sense of despair or a tentative hope for better days.
Verdict This collection of 26 distinct and penetrating tales belongs in all libraries. Just when the reader thinks they’ve found the best one, they’ll turn the page and fall in love all over again. Strongly recommended for fans of suspense and enthusiasts of the short form.—Amy Nolan, St. Joseph, MI