When life dwindles to its irrevocable conclusion, recollections are illuminated, even unto the grave. Such is the narrative of Paradise Field: A Novel In Stories, recounting the last years of a WWII bomber pilot and his drift into infirmity. The title comes from a remote airfield in the Southwest, and while the father recalls his flying days, his daughter—who nurses the old man—reflects as well—a narrative that will be both solace and provocation to anyone who has been left to stand graveside and confront eternity.
Disappearance of the most famous child in America captivated the nation. But beyond the front-page portrayals of mystery and speculation were the stories of those inexorably linked by guilt, loss, and fate.
The stories herein transport us through realms as varied as the language that tells these tales. The narrator of "Hovenweep" begins: "We are too much in the open here--sky, sky, slick rock, heat", finding her life laid bare against the desolation of the Canyonlands. In “Tendrils, As It Were,” the ribbons that bind a wedding bouquet unravel as surely as the marriage does. “Arroyo” takes the reader on a road trip through the desert and into a relationship that is “past the point of pulling over, turning back.” In “Solstice,” a coalminer’s wife busies herself with ordinary chores rendered luminous while she awaits her husband’s return from the “everlasting winters of the pit.” The explorers of “Overland” search for the source of a river in terrain as tangled as their motives, while the purpose of the expedition disintegrates. The off-kilter bishop of “In the Matter of the Prioress” accuses a nun of unearthly seductions, but cannot help divulge his private passions. In “A Tendency to Be Gone,” a recluse portrays isolation in the language of enchantments, and reveals the talismans that keep her secrets safe. “Seraphim” delivers us to a mediaeval convent as plague sweeps the Continent, and its inhabitants face the devastation to come. With sentences that are plain and precise, or lush and illuminating, this collection is a guide through the literary habitations of uncertainty and the topographies obsession and redemption.