Monday, March 20, 2017


Disappointment, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Kait Heacock, publicist at Feminist Press, explores its vast chasm in her debut story collection, Siblings and Other Disappointments. Sad in myriad ways, these stories dissect disenchantment from a variety of viewpoints--between husbands and wives, parents and offspring, siblings, neighbors, crewmates and, often most excruciatingly, within oneself.

Heacock writes about difficult subjects with a smooth grace that acts like a salve, taking some of the sting out of recognizing and relating to them. Living, often simply existing, is painful:

"Peter was an agoraphobic. He couldn't explain what that was a year ago, but he could describe now what it was like to stand by the front door and feel the heat radiate off the knob, so sure it could burn you if you touched it.... He never would have guessed when he rented this one-bedroom basement apartment that it could become his waking coffin, that he would let her death bury him alive."

Heacock sometimes balances the hurt with slivers of salvation. Peter finds solace in the peregrinations of his insomniac upstairs neighbor. An artistic young man finds a small mercy on the fishing boat where he's sent to toughen up. As in life, however, not every story includes an emotional Band-Aid, and Heacock doesn't hesitate to wield her words like a knife. To be human is to wound and be wounded, and the 12 gritty stories in Siblings and Other Disappointments cut to the core.

This review previously appeared in Shelf Awareness and is reposted here with permission.

STREET SENSE:  A debut collection worthy of getting a little guts spilled on your rug.

A FAVORITE PASSAGE:  She didn't ask her dad how things were going at the store or what he had been up to lately. His absence was more active than her mother's, richer and more full of anger. It was hard to hate someone who's dead; the living took the blow.

COVER NERD SAYS:  This is a frustrating cover because I'm not sure I can even put into words why I like it as much as I do. But the color scheme, the font, the repetition, the art work, all of it fits squarely into my wheelhouse. Covers for short stories must be difficult, with so many different emotions and characters and slices of life requiring a piece of the pie. But really, what's more disappointing than a sink full of dirty dishes (or the messy life it symbolizes)? Great cover work, maybe even more so because I can't be more clear about why.

No comments:

About Malcolm Avenue Review

I was lucky enough to be born and raised in a nifty, oak-shaded ranch house on Malcolm Avenue, a wide-laned residential street with little through traffic, located amid the foothills of Northern California. It was on that street and in that house I learned most of my adolescent life lessons, and many grown-up ones to boot. Malcolm Avenue was "home" for more than thirty years.

It was on Malcolm Avenue, through and with my family and the other families that made up our neighborhood of characters, that I first learned about and gained an appreciation for the things I continue to love the most to this day: music, animals, photography, sports, television/movies and, of course, books.

I owe a debt of gratitude to that life on Malcolm Avenue. It gave me a sense of community and friendship, support and adventure. For better and worse, life on that street likely had the biggest impact on the person I've become. So this blog, and the things I write here, are all, at their base level, a little bit of a love letter to Malcolm Avenue.


  © Blogger templates Newspaper by 2008

Back to TOP