Tacoma Stories by Richard Wiley
Bellevue Literary Press: 2/12/19
eBook review copy; 272 pages
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
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
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.
My review copy was courtesy of Bellevue Literary Press.