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Six Months in the Midwest Kindle Edition
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"Depth of Lies" by E. C. Diskin
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Top customer reviews
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Schummer's style is literary, but never purple. Well-crafted sentences. The influence of geography and climate are constant but not forced on the reader via elaborate metaphors or long-winded descriptions. These stories are about people rather than events and a maudlin tone pervades throughout. Her characters are dealing with the everyday ache of alienation, loss and personal inadequacy. There are moments of saving sweetness sprinkled in - just enough. It's rather like real life. To quote a Stephen Merritt tune: "there's an hour of sunshine for a million years of rain, but somehow that always seems to be enough".
Several of these stories intertwine, sort of passing one another in the frigid Minnesota night, which adds some cohesion to the collection as a whole. Each story is really a character piece. My personal favorites were the budding suicide, Mary and her delusional mother, Rose. There's really no quarter given by the author here. Schummer's unflinching eye is Six Month's greatest strength and we are rewarded with a true slice of humanity. It's as beautiful as this mundane life in the midwest can be.
Speaking of Minnesota, the setting is as much a character in these stories as the people. Minneapolis and St. Paul are unforgiving, or maybe just ambivalent. Or sometimes, they offer refuge, the only refuge when hope is fading so fast. That's not to say there aren't glimmers of hope. "The Garbage Collector," one of the standouts, along with "Nobody Moves in Winter" and others, find characters discovering something positive to hold onto, if only for a fleeting moment.
The prose in this collection is impeccable, but it's a tough book. It's the kind of book you aren't going to be able to read straight through. It's the kind of book that you'll have to put down every story or two and just catch your breath and pull yourself together before you can move forward. And when you do get to the last page, you're never likely to forget this reading experience.
Having recently moved to Central New York from Minneapolis, this book is like having a little piece of home with me. I can picture the neighborhoods and locations as I'm reading. For the first time since leaving, I feel homesick, maybe even missing the Midwest winters.
Most recent customer reviews
like the northern winters, but developed with warmth and...Read more