Thank You to Random House and The Dial Press for providing me with an advanced copy of Callan Wink's Dog Run Moon, in exchange for an honest review.
PLOT- Callan Wink's short story collection, Dog Run Moon, is filled with memorable characters caught in unexpected situations. Wink has a flair for infusing his tales with quirky scenarios and punishing moral consequences.
LIKE- I didn't recognize Callan Wink's name when I began Dog Run Moon, but I was happy to encounter his story, Breatharians, which I had read in a writing class last year. Breatharians made a huge impression on me when I read it originally, and it was a pleasure to read it a second time. Breatharians is about a young boy living on a farm who is caught in the middle of his parents. His parents have split, but they live on the same property, in two different houses. His father has remarried a much younger woman, and his mother is mentally ill, living off of air rather than food, as a Breatharian. As if this wasn't strange enough, Wink has added the element of having the boy tasked with culling the barn cat population, chopping their tails off, and tacking the tails to a board. This craziness is a reoccurring element in the collection. It had me hooked.
Often story collections are uneven, with some stories shining above others. I didn't notice this with Dog Run Moon. It seemed that every story was as compelling as the last. Another stand-out was One More Last Stand, where a Civil War reenactor, shows up for a yearly festival held on a Native American reservation. For years, he has been having an affair with one of the women from the reservation, who also participates in the reenactment. This year, he comes bearing the secret that his wife has breast cancer, making it impossible to have his fantasy weekend.
Wink's characters are struggling to make sense of the world around them. They have secrets and carry heavy burdens. Although they often make mistakes and missteps, there is a hopefulness in his writing.
DISLIKE- Nothing, Dog Run Moon is a solid collection from a marvelous storyteller.
RECOMMEND- Yes! If you're a fan of the short story genre, Callan Wink is an author that you need to check out. Dog Run Moon is a stellar debut.