I bet you’ll see this one on a lot of best-of lists this year, if you haven’t already. It just came out, but it’s had a lot of hype — and it lives up to it!
“She was charmed by the motions of trout. How they take their forms from the pressures of another world, the cold forge of water. Their drift, their mystery, the way they turn and let the current take them, take them, with passive grace. They turn again, tumbling like leaves, then straighten with mouths pointing upstream, to better sip a mayfly, to root up nymphs, to watch for the flash of a heron’s bill. The current always trues them, like compass needles. When she watches them, she feels wise.”
The writing in this collection of short stories is beautiful, although the subjects lean towards the harsh and painful. It reminded me a lot of Winter’s Bone in that way. The stories in Allegheny Front all take place in West Virginia, focusing on people who make their living off the land — often, just barely. The stories rarely have a happy ending, but the people and the scenery just come alive in each one. It’s really an incredible collection.