By Jim Tomlinson

Jim Tomlinson's prior e-book of brief tales, issues stored, issues Left in the back of, received the celebrated Iowa brief Fiction Award and acquired enthusiastic studies. the recent York occasions in comparison the powerful experience of position in Tomlinson's writing to that present in the works of Flannery O'Connor and Alice Munro. The tales in his new assortment, not anything Like An Ocean, additionally replicate Tomlinson's information of position, revisiting the fictitious city of Spivey, a group in rural Appalachia the place the characters confront tough situations and, with quiet dignity, attempt to do what's correct. within the name tale, Tomlinson explores topics of forgiveness and popularity within the lives of 2 characters, Alton wooden, a highschool math instructor remoted via grief, and his sister Fran, who's emotionally paralyzed through her half in a sad demise. the 2 take halting steps again into the area after Alton gets an nameless invitation to a church singles dance. those subject matters additionally underlie "Angel, His Rabbit, and Kyle McKell," which tells of Dempsie's night with males -- her risky boyfriend and the lately lower back Iraq warfare amputee whose mystery she has been retaining. Loss and the inevitability of switch recur in Tomlinson's tales. In "Overburden," Ben, a guy concurrently considering AARP club and forthcoming fatherhood, travels along with his spouse, Sarah, again to jap Kentucky to go to the oak tree that was once necessary to their courtship, in simple terms to discover the location as barren and featureless because the moon, a casualty of mountaintop elimination mining. "So unique" attracts us into the worn environs of Rita's Huddle In Caf?, the place the landlord turns into the confidant of Quilla, a mousy financial institution teller who blossoms because the muse of an eccentric artist from Belarus. The 11 tales in not anything Like An Ocean evoke a powerful experience of small-town Kentucky lifestyles, discovering humor within the citizens' foibles whereas by no means diminishing their internal lives. Tomlinson's masterful fiction captures gentle and darkish moments, moments which are overseas but deeply primary, as his characters search redemption and infrequently locate unforeseen grace..

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By the time we got to the mall, we were way calm. Kyle McKell, whose father managed the store, sat on a stool behind a glass counter. He was reading a magazine, which he slapped closed and tucked away when I went in. “Hey, Dempsie,” he said. I remember being amazed that he knew my name. I started chatting with him. I told him about our class trip. I leaned across the display case, looked in, and pointed at different cameras. I asked him about the Minoltas and Nikons, about lenses and different kinds of film.

Robocop,” I said. “He’s just movie CGI shit, all computerfaked stuff. ” Angel looked over at me like he’d forgotten I was there. “What I’m saying is the idea’s the same. ” “They can fake anything in movies,” I said. ” Kyle said. Using his good leg, bracing his weight with an arm, he scooted awkwardly from the couch to the floor. He rolled onto his side and worked his pants waist down past his knees. Then he held his shirttail aside. His shorts were this white elastic material, legless briefs, tight like cycling shorts.

I yelled. “Setting Victor free. You think I did something wrong,” Angel yelled back. His breath puffed out, small alcohol fog-balls in the air. ” “Keep him, Angel,” I yelled. “I don’t care. ” He set the cage down, unlatched and opened the door. Victor hunkered in a corner. Angel kicked the back of the cage. He kicked it again. He banged the top mesh and sides with his hands. Victor squeezed through the door opening and wriggled out. Once out, he hopped heavily across the yard, zigzagged into the darkness, and headed for the woods out back.

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