Your Pick: Selected Stories
by V. S. Kemanis
Opus Nine Books

"Kindness? Is that truly her motivation? For the first time, she suspects something else. Arrogance. Maybe even cruelty."

The author notes at the beginning of this collection that these stories are “reader favorites.” If one were to assume that such a label precludes an absence of commonality, one would be making an incorrect assumption. While these tales certainly differ in timeframe, plot, and environment, they all are infused with a microscopic examination of the intricacies of human frailty. As such, they become a bit like a patchwork quilt where individual pieces might initially clash, but their combination results in an overall feeling of warmth and comfort.

Kemanis’ stories run the gamut of experience and emotion, and within virtually every one, a secret is revealed that reinforces or explains behavior. To reveal what’s initially hidden would spoil the reader’s moment of enlightenment, which occurs less often as shock and more frequently as gradual illumination. What do the stories actually include? The same things that life includes: regret, longing, dissatisfaction, friendships blossoming, relationships falling apart, fear, love, loss, hope—all the things that make life simultaneously mesmerizing and mystifying.

Kemanis is a writer of substance. She exposes expressions of despair hidden behind masks of joviality. She hears and conveys what people think regardless of what they say. She creates moments of tension, drama, and pathos in the midst of seemingly benign situations. Proof of this is her tale of a tax audit that will break your heart. A wise person once said there are no boring stories, only boring writers. Kemanis authors the former and is the polar opposite of the latter.

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