Here on Old Route 7: Stories
The title story, "Old Route 7, " introduces the reader to the people who live along the road through five separate narratives. "Anna's Story" recounts her husband's aspirations and eventual ownership of a motor court for tourists. Once the new Route 7 and its shopping plaza are built, however, travelers bypass the town and his business begins to fail. Although he confronts the change with optimism, one day he loses all hope. Through the voices of Seige, Red, Dave, and Maria the reader comes to understand and, perhaps, sympathize with the stagnant town of self-described losers and the contented elderly farming couple who were there before any of the others. All of the stories in this collection take place in New England and are unified by a sense of individual and communal identity. A strong sense of belonging is also prevalent in the stories. Characters such as Houghton, the octogenarian in "Good Neighbors, " draw a distinct line between islanders with deep ancestral roots and newcomers like the narrator. "Houghton and his people have lived in that house for over a hundred years. They're island. And islanders don't like change." Other stories gracefully slip from the mundane into the fantastic. In "Aaron's Rod" a drunken dowser taps into an aquifer that is a little too close to a cemetery, and the town's past suddenly comes to life. Although many of the stories deal with dark issues such as alcoholism, illness, violence, and ultimately death, they are leavened by a wry comic touch and deft lyric prose.
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