Reading Dan T. Cox's new collection of short stories is like living in Oregon's North Santiam Canyon for a while. The stories overlap just enough you feel like you know the community, with its small towns, mills, forested hills, bad weather, and difficult lives of the people who live in this beautiful but struggling pocket of Oregon. Cox is an excellent writer in that you don't notice his writing -- the stories come straight at you. If you are a fan of Raymond Carver, you'll love The Canyon Cuts Both Ways.
Never Leaving Laramie: Travels in a Restless World by John W. Haines (2020, OSU Press).
Rough House by Tina Ontiveros (2020, OSU Press)
Solace Wales tells the story of the Tuscan village of Sommocolonia and the Black 366th Infantry Regiment that defended the village in WWII during the Battle of Garfagnana. At the center of her story are Lieutenant John Fox, who posthumously won the Medal of Honor for his heroism, and the brave Biondi family. Wales explores how the bonds between some of the Black GIs and Italian villagers, forged during the battle, remained strong for lifetimes. As the Black Lives Matter movement continues, Braided in Fire is a timely record of the Black lives given during WWII to save Europe from fascism.
She Said God Blessed Us: A Life Marked by Childhood Sexual Abuse in the Church by Gail Hovey (2020, Exposit Books)
The Town Crazy by Suzzy Roche (2020, Gibson House Press)
The Town Crazy is set in Hanzloo, Pennsylvania, a suburban Catholic community in Pennsylvania in 1961, when a single father moves to town with his son Felix. The dads are suspicious, most of the moms are smitten, and Lil O'Brien, one of the town moms, seems to be losing her mind. Felix befriends his classmate, Lil's daughter Alice, but when the town busybody jumps to a conclusion of misbehavior, tragedy follows. Meanwhile, Lil's bottled-up secret is leading to greater emotional collapse. This character-driven, captivating story will keep you engaged from cover to cover.