by Rosie Siefert
Congratulations to three past TMR contributors, who have new books recently out.
Peter LaSalle, whose fiction (“Istanbul Nocturne: Three AM, Maybe Four,” “Oh, Such Playwrights!”) and nonfiction (“Au Train de Vie: That Voice You Hear When Traveling”) have appeared in our issues, has recently published a collection of short stories, Sleeping Mask (Bellevue Literary Press). The eponymous opening piece beckons the reader to slip into the complex worlds the author has created. LaSalle’s narrative voice hypnotizes, and his enticingly evasive way of concluding each story leaves a dreamlike impression. The twelve stories in Sleeping Mask are nuanced tales of enduring subjects: desire, despair, the arts, and war.
Melissa Yancy, winner of our 2014 Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize for her short story “Consider This Case,” has recently published her debut story collection. Dog Years (University of Pittsburgh Press) won the Drue Heinz Literature Prize and includes her prizewinning story. Dealing with modern medicine, hospital settings, and other, more commonplace circumstances like supermarket shopping, air travel, and first dates, Dog Years undertakes the task of coming to terms with life as it comes at us. Inevitable frustrations are humorously portrayed, and the stories are infused with sharp metaphor and clear language. A common theme of the collection is time: its steady pace beats through the nine short stories in Dog Years.
Poet and essayist John W. Evans has published poetry and two essays (“The Polish Prince” and “Elegy and Narrative”) in our pages. His deeply moving new memoir, Should I Still Wish (University of Nebraska Press), chronicles his recovery from heartbreak. Evans, a young widower, grapples with the inexplicable grief of losing his wife, while setting out on a cross-country trip to San Francisco, where he reconnects with a woman who sparks joy in a time of mourning. The intriguing paradox of love amid heartbreak pushes the narrative forward, leading to moments of poignant honesty. Evans’s emotional journey is candidly conveyed and affecting.
Rosie Siefert is a second-semester intern at TMR. She is a dual-major in English and Journalism and also works at the Columbia Missourian.