11/17/20; 232 pages
Lord The One You Love is Sick by Kasey Thornton is a very highly recommended, beautifully written heartbreaking collection of short stories that, as a whole make a novel of profound depth.
The stories take place in rural Bethany, N.C. and open with reactions
to and repercussions of the heroin overdose of 23-year-old Gentry
Coats. Nettie, Gentry's mother, feels the judgement of the town and the
church focused on her and judging her. Gentry's life-long best friend
Dale is in the police academy and Gentry's death sends him into a spiral
of guilt. His marriage suffers and he eventually has a mental
breakdown. Ethan, Gentry's quiet withdrawn younger brother becomes
agoraphobic. A family in the area struggles with an unspeakable secret
and the repercussions are heartbreaking. At the same time a group of
older men meet every at their self-named Table of Knowledge at Austin’s
Grill, oblivious to the real issues in the town.
The writing is breathtakingly beautiful and absolutely perfect in this collection, even when the subject matter is heartbreaking and emotionally agonizing. Each story in this collection, taken together, create a picture of life in this small town and how one death is connected to an undercurrent of secrets, gossip, and denial. Thornton uses different points of view in these stories, which makes them stronger and poignant when viewed as a whole. The subjects Thornton covers from this small town include drug addiction, mental illness, gossip, prejudice, sexual abuse, and domestic violence, to name a few. She manages to capture psychological insight into each character and treats them as individuals with tenderness and understanding, even when the subject matter is tragic and agonizing. Yeah, you will likely cry while reading Lord The One You Love is Sick. This is an excellent collection.Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of lg publishing