Blog Tour/Book Review: By the Wayside by Anne Leigh Parrish

About By the Wayside: Stories

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Unsolicited Press (January 31, 2017)

Marvelous. Honest. Generous. From the first story to the last, “By the Wayside” catches your attention and demands that you give into its every whirl. Each character unfolds with a precision that will have you wondering how Parrish managed to create such real-to-the-bones people within a world that captivates you with ease.

“Anne Leigh Parrish’s third collection is both a charm and a gem, a vividly imagined work that introduces us to genies hidden in spare tires, Virgin Mary images concealed inside body parts, and Jewish professors disguised as Calvinists in small-town South Dakota. In stories that are crisp and poignant, yet told with a hint of wonder, Parrish captures the details of domestic life with its inexorable echoes of childhood and its family vortices. Rich and nuanced, conjuring up the spirits of Muriel Spark and Henry Green, By the Wayside belongs very much at the center of our literary road.” — Jacob M. Appel, author of The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street.

“Anne Leigh Parrish is one of the best of a new wave of American short story writers reinvigorating the form. Many of these writers specialize at flash fiction– a genre at which Parrish is a master. She also, however, excels at stories of more traditional length. Her tales, long or short, are highly readable but also convey intelligence and meaning. Few writers today create as much compassion for their characters, or draw as much emotion from their situations, as does Anne Leigh Parrish.” – Karl Wenclas, Editor, New Pop Lit.

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About Anne Leigh Parrish

Anne Leigh Parrish is the author of All the Roads That Lead From Home, stories (Press 53, 2011); Our Love Could Light The World, stories (She Writes Press, 2013); and What Is Found, What Is Lost, a novel (She Writes Press, 2014). Her new novel,Women Within, is forthcoming from Black Rose Writing in September 2017. Find Anne on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.

My Review

 

When was the last time you sat down and read a short story? I think the last time I read a short story was to my grandchildren. It was a child’s story, of course. As for adult literature, I think the last time I read a short story that wasn’t for little ones was during a college writing class that my daughter and I took a few years ago. But, now I can say I have actually read a collection of adult short stories more recently by digging into this book, By the Wayside. The opportunity to read these stories was courtesy of TLC Book Tours when they offered a copy of By the Wayside to me in exchange for a review.

The nice thing about reading a book of short stories is the variety one can find when she/he opens the cover. The reader can’t get bored when with the turn of a few pages a new tale takes shape. In this volume the authoress takes us from one interesting setting and cast of characters to another in no time. Use your imagination to think what you might come upon in stories with titles like “An Angel Within,” “Artichokes, “ “Smoke,” “Along Came a Spider” (Hint – not anything like James Patterson’s book of the same name. I’m not giving any spoilers. Sorry.), “Letters of Love and Hate,” and “The Lillian Girl.” In all there are 18 stories.

In each tale there is a female character around whom the center of the story revolves. Male and female characters enter the story in minor roles against which the main character reacts and makes choices. Ms. Parrish is not afraid to take on topics that are controversial. Things like alcoholism, runaways, suicide, unhappy marriages, and divorce. She also uses the technique of telling a story that may appear superficial, but in reality has deeper layers making the reader use her/his mind to unravel the story in the story. And there are a few stories that end abruptly, leaving the reader to figure out an appropriate ending.

If you are in the mood for some short stories that don’t have fairytale endings, that center around women who are trying to find their way through whatever life brings them, that make you think and come up with an appropriate ending at times, then this book is for you. Try it. You just might really like it. This would definitely be a good book to discuss with your book club members. The conversation​ would be thought-provoking and lively.

Thanks again, TLC Book Tours for the chance to read a book by an authoress I hadn’t tried before. HAPPY READING!!

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