Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Tacoma Stories

Tacoma Stories by Richard Wiley
Bellevue Literary Press: 2/12/19
eBook review copy; 272 pages
ISBN-13: 9781942658542 

Tacoma Stories by Richard Wiley is a very highly recommended collection of fourteen interconnected short stories set in Tacoma, Washington.

The first story, set in Pat’s Tavern in Tacoma on St. Patrick’s Day in 1968, introduces the sixteen characters and their connections to each other. "So we were Pat, Fatty, Paddy, Vivian, Sari, Hani, Lars and Immy, Jonathan from Yale, Becky Welles, Ralph the English teacher, Lindy the convict’s ex, Andy, Earl, and Mary and I [Richie]. Sixteen characters in search of a play on Saint Patrick’s Day, 1968." The stories are set in different time periods, from the past up to the present, and include at least one of these characters.
Pay attention to the date when the story is set, as they do not follow a linear timeline. Several of the characters recur in several stories, with even a mention, which further ties the collection together as a complete narrative and facilitates the character development. The extended timeline, covering a large portion of the lives of these characters, allows the stories, as a whole, to establish a realistic look at how life doesn't normally turn out how you have planned. All of these characters have struggled in one way or another to survive to the present day and the stories help highlight some of the bumps along the way.
This is a very well-written and offbeat collection that is best read as a whole, in one sitting, if possible, in order to keep track of all the characters and retain their stories fresh in your mind. It will also assist you in catching all the connections between them over the years. Some of the stories are humorous, with situations that are memorable and absurd. While the narratives are all strong individual stories, presented together as a whole they create a masterful collection and reflection on life over the decades.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Bellevue Literary Press.

1 comment:

RW said...

Thank you, Lori L, for the terrific review of TACOMA STORIES.
During these days when careful readers of literary fiction are difficult to find,
you stand tall.
Richard Wiley