Mandeliene Smith's Rutting Season

She did not understand his words; she couldn't even attach them to the conversation they were having, but, like an animal, she understood the tone. Not forgiveness, not liking, but a kind of permission.

The jacket description doesn't do this volume of nine short stories justice. The stories aren't of "girls behaving badly", like we're reading about out-of-control tweens or reckless-on-spring-break coeds. The central figures in these stories are individuals crushed under intense familial pressure: death, abuse, neglect (benign and otherwise).


Rutting Season by Mandeliene Smith
Scribner, 2019
Electronic ARC provided by publisher


Smith's narrative style and easy characterization is envy-inducing; in a few paragraphs, she can convey a wealth of background. Mood and setting are bold, intense, impossible to ignore, and I read each story with a low-grade anxiety, desperate to know how things would shake out for each character. Of the nine, I was only 'eh' on two; the rest of the stories were tiny little universes exploding with life.

Comments

  1. This sounds like a great collection. I don't read enough short stories.

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