Peripheral Visions and Other Stories
by Nancy Christie
Unsolicited Press

"Or, for once in her life, Lena could focus so firmly on the image in her peripheral vision that it became all she could see: that sparkling water, that bit of sand."

This collection of stories by Christie presents interesting characters and how they deal with the less-than-ideal circumstances of their lives. This particular theme is present in some form throughout all the selections. The characters all come from common places, mostly small towns, and deal with the everyday situations people face. There are single mothers, parents who have lost children, people feeling alone or trapped, and more. Most of the stories deal with some form of hurt, many including trauma or tragic loss. However, the underlying theme throughout these stories is not the hurt so much but the search for hope.

The author's tales are short and written in easily understood, concise sentences. The writing exhibits a comfortable command of the language, and the quick pacing allows the stories to be read and absorbed without much effort. A few stories miss their mark because they are too similar to others in the book or do not fully explore their subject, leaving too much fictional meat on the bone. However, Christie is obviously an accomplished writer. Her last piece (the title story) shows how powerful the narrative can become when enough time is taken to explore the people involved, their motivations, and their choices. This one stands out both in the care given to fleshing out the characters and the decisions taken in telling the story. Overall, this collection will appeal to almost anyone who enjoys short stories, and it is likely that many readers will be looking forward to what Christie offers them next.

A 2021 Eric Hoffer Book Award Category Finalist

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