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Review of "Months and Seasons"
Date of Review: 
Published Work: 
Tony O'Brien (New Zealand)
Metapsychology Online Reviews (Australia)

"Months and Seasons" revisits some Carver territory with stories about (mostly) blue collar workers, often hard pressed by circumstance, hoping that their luck's about to turn... If there is anyone who can't identify with something in these stories you'd have to wonder if they're actually alive.

Meeks has the happy knack of taking the reader straight to the heart of a story. Take the first line of the opening story "Dracula Slinks into the Night": "A bright orange envelope came addressed to 'The Ghouls of the House'." Or from the title story: "It'd been three weeks, and his hand had almost healed." If there is any truth to the maxim that a short story must grab the reader in the first line, Meeks will have plenty of readers. The openings are not all as crisp as these ones, but Meeks gets on with the narrative quickly, and the stories unfold at a brisk pace.

There are no gimmicks, another reminder of Carver, who seldom used metaphors, preferring plain description and reliance on small details to anchor his stories in the everyday world.

For me the standout story in this collection was one of the shortest, "Catalina." Greece born Daunus is a middle-aged man, disappointed in America and in a certain G. W. Bush, having "given his country everything, including now his son." At the suggestion of a friend, he heads to Catalina Island. Things don't seem any brighter there; it's just been scoured by fire, and the movie-star young woman who starts conversation almost passes unnoticed. Then, almost when the story is over, something sparks an interest, and the reader is left with a hint of optimism. This is the sort of restrained story telling that grabs you through what's left unsaid. Catalina is a real gem.