Life Among the Terranauts by Caitlin Horrocks

A short story collection of great potency: odd, engaging, various and poignant tales that will not fail to fascinate any reader of fiction.

Life Among the Terranauts – Caitlin Horrocks – Hachette HC $27.00 9780316316972 – 1/12/2021

 

This collection of short stories might convince you to take up the reading of the format if you haven’t before. If you read short fiction, you’re in for a treat. Muscular, potent, poignant, these pieces are exemplars of succinct writing. I strongly recommend a course of treatment, at least daily and perhaps more often than that.

Of varying length and pleasing thematic diversity, these will captivate, motivate and perhaps even shock you in ways that only vigorous prose found in short stories can. It is wonderful that so much can come in such small packages. On display are universal human feelings, actions and reactions that everyone can recognize and empathize with.

An entire village that decides to hibernate through the Northern Michigan winters, a group of people sequestered in an ecological experiment. A woman tries to discover the secrets of her grandmother’s sexuality. A collector of untranslateable terms treats us to a tour of arcana. An account of an ill-fated trip on the Oregon trail captures our sympathy and wonder, and an awkward father-estranged-son encounter are just some of the entries. All are limned adeptly and with  distinct character.

I have developed a fondness for short fiction and I find these stories to be among some of the best I’ve read in recent years. I recommend the book to anyone who loves good writing and interesting reading.