Fiction Book Reviews

Book Review: Heavier Than Air

By Sandy Amazeen Jul 22, 2008, 5:41 GMT

Book Review: Heavier Than Air

Winner of the AWP Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction The stories in this first collection deliver the reader into a world in which men, women, and children are on the cusp of some deeper consciousness. The writing gives lie to orderly images of Midwesterners and instead evokes with unnerving clarity an interior landscape that is primitive and quietly chaotic. This is life in the balance-"whole worlds at the moment ...more

Readers can practically hear the crickets, smell the new mown alfalfa and feel the dust of a parched summer lane in this moving collection of ten short stories set America’s heartland. Caspers’s spare writing style makes the characters and subjects stand out with surprising clarity as exampled by “Wide Like An Eagle’s Wings”. Young Manny is completely absorbed in the upcoming presidential election and her candidate of choice, JFK. Manny’s whole life is seen through the lens of what JFK would do or think until an ill advised boat trip results in the drowning of her little sister and quite suddenly, the significance of little things, like breathing, take center stage.

Different aspics of sexuality are the subject of “Country Girls” and “Alfalfa” as Caspers offers a realistic look at youngsters, conflicted by society’s standards and what’s in their hearts as they struggle to come to terms with themselves. These insightful strolls through a quieter time are a rare delight as they showcase the art of short story writing at its finest.

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