FAMILIES AMONG US
Blake Kimzey. Black Lawrence Press, $8.95 paperback (40p) ISBN: 978-1-62557-995-9
Winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition, Families Among Us offers readers a look inside shape-shifting family dynamics through six short stories. From the onset it is apparent that these families will defy convention as the title story opens with the line: “Four of them, a family, crawled naked from the sea clutching plastic suitcases.” Moving forward and landward we see this family attempt to acclimate though the children resist, bringing things to a startling finish. In “Up and Away”, a winged boy who is loved and supported by his family struggles with his desire to leave them and explore the world. “The Skylight” finds a young man enamored with a mysterious, veiled woman who sneaks away to the roof of an apartment building at night. Things grow tense as her father asserts his disapproval of the narrator’s interest in his special daughter. In “Tunneling” a boy is born with a unique deformity, “His midsection was a slick gelatinous cushion, the skin accordioned like concentric bands ringing his abdomen from waist to collarbone.” In “The Boy and The Bear” a child is at the whim of heredity, growing, as did his elder brother, into a bear-boy. “And Finally The Tragedy” provides a lovely and majestic finish as a boy falls from the heavens. Using fantastical elements that push effortlessly through the narratives, Kimzey has fashioned six allegories about the inevitability of change, people trying to love what is different from themselves, and the hardship and heartbreak that comes with being part of a family. (September 2014)
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Reviewer bio: Mel Bosworth is the author of the novel FREIGHT. Visit his website at melbosworth.com