Heart Land by D.B. Allen
Silky Oak Press: 7/22/15
eBook review copy; 234 pages
trade paperback ISBN-13: 9780992392840
Heart Land by D.B. Allen is a recommended collection of interconnected stories set in the Midwest.
Contents include eight stories: Last Storm… First; The Swing; Dan 4
Danica; A Single Word; Kaitlin’s on the Corner; Bookstore Confessional;
First Snow… Last.
The first story, "Last Storm," is incredible and seemingly promises a
stunning collection. This isn't quite the case. I was very much
impressed by the first story, and found "Dan for Danica" and "First
Snow" heart breaking. There is a surprising twist in "Kaitlin's on the
Corner." "The Swing" and "Archie's Reach" are just depressing. "The
Swing" features a wife reading diary entries made by her deceased
husband years after they were written.
While there are brilliant bits of writing interspersed throughout the
collection, I thought the character development was lacking. In the end I found Heart Land
to be an uneven collection. I was left feeling like the stories all
depicted a bleak, rural, redneck heartland that I didn't recognize. That
said, I can take sad and depressing and hopelessness, but I think,
while the stories are somewhat interconnected, D.B. Allen could have
done a better job developing the characters and their connections to
each other in Heart Land.
To be fair the print edition has eight drawings included for each story
and my review copy only included one. Perhaps the drawings would have
added to my experience. If I gave stars I would go 3.5 due to the
moments of brilliance.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy
of Silky Oak Press via Netgalley for review