By Jim Tomlinson
Jim Tomlinson's past ebook of brief tales, issues stored, issues Left at the back of, received the celebrated Iowa brief Fiction Award and got enthusiastic studies. the recent York instances in comparison the robust 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 mirror Tomlinson's know-how of position, revisiting the fictitious city of Spivey, a neighborhood in rural Appalachia the place the characters confront tricky situations and, with quiet dignity, attempt to do what's correct. within the identify tale, Tomlinson explores issues of forgiveness and popularity within the lives of 2 characters, Alton wooden, a highschool math instructor remoted by means of grief, and his sister Fran, who's emotionally paralyzed via her half in a sad loss of life. the 2 take halting steps again into the realm 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 again Iraq struggle amputee whose mystery she has been holding. Loss and the inevitability of switch recur in Tomlinson's tales. In "Overburden," Ben, a guy concurrently considering AARP club and approaching fatherhood, travels along with his spouse, Sarah, again to japanese Kentucky to go to the oak tree that was once necessary to their courtship, merely to discover the location as barren and featureless because the moon, a casualty of mountaintop removing 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 robust 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 normal, as his characters search redemption and infrequently locate unforeseen grace..