Winner of the 2016 Iowa Short Fiction Award
The characters in each of the stories of Robert Oldshue's debut collection want to be decent but find that hard to define.
An elderly couple is told that delivery of their Thanksgiving dinner has been canceled due to an impending blizzard. Unwilling to have guests but nothing to serve, they make a run to the grocery, hoping to get there and back before the snow, but crash their car into the last of their neighbors. A male prostitute tricks a closeted suburban schoolteacher only to learn that the trick is on him. A twelve-year-old girl negotiates the competing demands of her faith and her family as she is bat mitzvahed in the feminist ferment of the 1980s, and a quadriplegic goes missing at a nursing home. Was she assumed? In the process of finding out, all are reminded that caring for others, however imperfectly—even laughably—is the only shot at assumption we have.
In upstate New York, a November storm is one that comes early in the season. If it catches people off-guard, it can change them in the ways Oldshue’s characters are changed by different but equally surprising storms.
Book cover photo by Evan Ludes
Cited in Poets and Writers Magazine "5 more over 50" Nov/Dec, 2016