Sunday, November 4, 2012

In A World Of Small Truths by Ray Morrison

In A World Of Small Truths is a collection of short stories by Ray Morrison, an award winning writer from North Carolina. Morrison's use of language is concise, sharp, and beautiful. His attention to detail is phenomenal.

The stories are touching portraits of people caught up in problems readers can identify with, such as dealing with guilt or trying to understand the actions of others who have disappointed them. Sometimes the problems are set in common situations and at other times, in stories such as S, the characters are in situations we hope we will never see. Yet Morrison always takes us along paths that are justified by the strengths and failures of his characters.

One of my favorites in the collection is Calvin Bodenheimer and the Dalrymple Bull which at first appears to be a tragedy in the classical sense. Calvin, the hero, has a character flaw, shyness, that keeps him from developing a relationship with a pretty farmer's daughter named Dreama. But the story takes a number of unexpected twists and turns and ends up being more about Calvin's relationship with himself than about Dreama. Another story, June Bug is a powerful piece about a woman reflecting back on the way her mother's prejudices affected her life. And another, Lenny and Earl Go Shooting Off Their Mouths is filled with dark humor and has one of the best titles I've ever read.

Although In A World Of Small Truths contains stories set mostly in and around Winston-Salem, NC, the characters could exist anywhere. The Small Truths are emotional struggles we can all identify with and learn from. This one is a great read!

Steve Lindahl = author of Motherless Soul

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