Half Wild: Stories by Robin MacArthur


“Populated by ghosts and animals and lonely women. Frickin’ heaven, my mom calls these woods. Heaven: like she’d know. She’s thirty-three years old and pocked with life’s failures: her sun-lined face and cheaply tattooed arms and soot-lined lungs.”

Damn! I devoured these stories, there were honest, raw, powerful and sometimes ugly. These women may be down on their luck, their lives aren’t pretty but they are strong and alive, no matter the kicks life gives them. “My mom says it smells like desire and tips her head back, sniffing. Desire. For a moment I know we both feel it: our shared loneliness.” Gorgeous writing, and those who go without still want and hunger as much as those born under lucky stars.

Some may have escaped the land, but it’s still burrowed inside of them. You never quite wash off the dirt of your origins, do you? You can hate and love a place, as much as you can long for and reject a person, a thing… These are things we may think and feel but never speak. It’s about the wounds, the sore spots we can’t stop touching, the mothers we both love and hate and recognize in ourselves. It’s the men we want, think we’re getting- it’s those we open ourselves to and abandon. Gorgeous, one of the best short story collections I’ve read this year. These are not happy stories, but they are honest, by God they are honest! Not reviewing for any publisher, just picked it up- must have called to me!

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