"Months and Seasons," the second short story collection from Christopher Meeks, is a exceptionally entertaining and thought-provoking offering from a gifted writer. The stories are often curious and clever, while hiding unexpected pockets of wisdom and philosophy. Through the use of an inventive method of storytelling, we meet people who struggle with the realities of existence in an often confusing world, trying to put the semblance of order to events that, for them, defy explanation.
Here are curmudgeons and uptight husbands, grieving fathers and deceptive lovers, characters that could be people you know, enmeshed in the conflicts of the everyday. Many of the stories have clever asides dealing with controversial subjects like war, the economy, and violence. Though some of the stories are playful and comical, others deal with more frightening and murky subjects like mental illness and impending death. From the wildly absurd to the quiet fears we all harbor, the emotional range in this collection is impressive.
I enjoyed the more serious stories, as they showed tremendous insight into the way that people rationalize and cope with tragedies beyond their usual scope. One story that dealt with a set of characters who were plagued with doubts about their health had a palpable layer of tension running through it, and left me uncomfortably eager to see who would escape tragedy. All at once I was breathing a sigh of relief, while at the same time realizing that there was more uncertainty to come.
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