A year after releasing his anthology “Hoar Frost,” Eric E. Wallace returns with “Stonerise,” a collection of nine dramatic short stories in which the characters seem to jump from the pages. With stories set all over the world, including in Idaho, Wallace has shed light on the human psyches of normal individuals living out their lives, just like you and me. These short works reveal what it means to be human and rise above obstacles.
Each character faces troubles that are instantly relatable. We start out with the story of Clint, whose beaming pride gets him into a slight situation during his private safari expedition. Leah, a woman who has spent her entire life putting others before herself, is surprised with a heartwarming gift of her own. Major Gillespie recalls his grandfather’s childhood during World War II, as he prepares to drop a bomb of his own. Elise, a recent college graduate, learns some surprising facts about the animal kingdom when she takes a demeaning minimum-wage job.
Royce climbs to the top of Mt. Haleakala in an effort to find clarity amid a hectic and unexpected life. Robert recalls his two baptisms as his life takes a perilous turn. Rachel finds herself among an unlikely group of people on her trip to Britain. Julian and Tilly embrace the quiet life in Idaho while dealing with the common visitors that Idahoans know all too well. We are left with Francine, who builds something truly remarkable after her husband’s death and gives the anthology its title.
The success of these stories truly lies with the characters and Wallace’s magical technique of bringing them to life. Providing vivid details, yet allowing our imagination to soar, is the hallmark of creativity for these pieces. Readers will not be able to feel anything but euphoria when Leah is presented with an evening in the hot springs as a thanks for dedicating her whole life to bringing comfort and warmth to others. Readers will be captivated by Major Gillespie’s recollections of his grandfather’s childhood, spent in the middle of WWII, as he prepares to drop a bomb on a war-torn community in Syria. Readers will smile as Rachel laughs at the situation she finds herself in.
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And these are only some examples of how this anthology captures you from start to finish.
Recommended for a variety of audiences, “Stonerise” has something for everyone. The collection is perfect for anyone who enjoys life’s small surprises and grand lessons.
Just as Francine built her monument stone by stone, Wallace has crafted these stories to pay tribute to normal individuals facing their bugaboos.
Arthur Aguilera works as an administrative assistant for Albertsons Library at Boise State University.