A woman adjusts to her new urban landscape. A slaughterman comes to terms with the death of his wife. A rodeo ringer blows into town, wreaking havoc.
These are just a handful of the eclectic characters, locations, and stories that come gloriously together in Leslie Thiele‘s recent collection Skyglow. Bouncing from the past to the future and everywhere in between, it’s a remarkable series of shorts, with a keen focus on character and place, and an exciting lean towards speculative fiction.
Opening with “Light Pollution”, a musing on change and the things we and those around us sacrifice to make each other happy, Skyglow moves elegantly through its roster of tales, before wrapping things up with a tender toast to friendship and shared trauma in “The Medal”.
Themes of belonging, home, and being a little kinder to oneself abound throughout; and Thiele has a true gift for revealing character in just a few pages. Each story peels away layer after layer, and, whether heartfelt, tender, funny, or impossibly sad, they’re always intricately crafted, filled with delicate and evocative writing.
Never shying away from a hard hitting topic or a brutal plot twist, Skyglow often makes for uncomfortable reading – in all the right ways, of course. Each story lashes out in a different way, capturing a variety of voices and genres as they do.
It’s an accomplished literary melting pot, and one that demands readers return for a little more.