Fred Chappell reviews

The Naming of Ghosts

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24 March 2013
The opening sentence of “Dandelions”, the first story in Steve Mitchell’s arresting collection, The Naming of Ghosts, reads: “I dreamt his dream again”. The abusive-father narrator of the second story, “Ten Year Stare”, says, “For a second then I seen into his world”. That world would be the cruel universe of his young son. In “Wednesday,” the third story, the narrator looks into “the archive” of her friend’s eyes: “I see the single, gentle thread of my life”. She almost comes to a realization of a lesbian sexual attraction but does not accept it or even consciously acknowledge it.

In most fiction the individuations of characters are established by separation. But in Steve Mitchell’s highly original perspectives, the characters inhabit one another, to greater or lesser extent…

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