The Dark and Other Love Stories By Deborah Willis


“We were hungry for feral time. That’s why we loved the dark.”

There is something feral about girls on the cusp of womanhood, what better place than camp to explore the dark things the world wants to protect them from. One friend always seems to be the one who pushes the limits more, the one who should end up as a face on a milk carton if what the grown ups warn is true. There is a pulsing hunger for danger and a paralyzing fear of it. The Dark is not so much in the young girls hunger and desires but in the world itself. Nothing happens, everything happens. Each story continues in this vein, people stepping out of ordinary acceptable behavior like in Optimus Prime when a father struggles with 12 steps and gives his son a Halloween night law abiding parents wouldn’t.  In my personal favorite The Arc, “I lived in fog, a beautiful fog like in paintings of winter. Memories passed by like clouds on the other side of a window” there is nothing beautiful about Leanna’s suffering, but the strangeness of the turns her life takes pulled me in. Love and hate are the same emotion sometimes, and both can be our salvation or damnation.The mind and body don’t always heal, sometimes you just live through the fog. I felt for Leanna as much as I feel for a character in a long novel. She is every woman who has placed her faith in the wrong person, because at some point in life- most of us do. Life drags her along confused, broken and trapped in an endless fog unable to answer “Why is God so mean sometimes?”

This is a dark and strange collection. Some moments are small, but life altering. I can’t wait to read more by Willis.

Publication Date: February 14, 2017

W.W. Norton & Company




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