I have read and reviewed numerous short story collections here at carp(e). Most of them contain a theme of some sort; occasionally they’re as apparent as having a group of stories about the same characters. Other times, the common factor is harder to detect – an emotion, for instance, or an exploration on one facet of the human condition. With “Where The Dog Star Never Glows” by Tara L. Masih, a common thread I discovered was surprisingly a feeling, or a spirit in the story telling. That beautiful spirit that permeates Masih’s short stories is nothing short of extraordinary. Truly written from the heart of a poet, her ability to turn a phrase is more than appealing to this particular reviewer.
Each story is set in an unexpected setting;the island of Dominica, Texas on the Mexican border, India. Every one is filled with imaginative, solid characters that are easy to connect with, difficult to part with by story’s end. Most of the stories have the characters placed in the midst of change – sometimes headed for the better, sometimes the worst, often with the location playing a major role. Throughout the book there permeates an unexpected sense of peace, even as characters battle against tough life decisions. Settings and people alike are brought to life with well-chosen words handled like paint on a canvas, leaving the reader with lucid imagery and a sense of deep reflection.
When well written, short stories have the ability to leave the reader with strong emotions in a smaller span of time – often within a mere few pages. Masih’s stories have managed to stay with me days after finishing the book. The final tale in particular, “Delight”, will hold a special place with me for quite some time.
If you’re a lover of the short story, do yourself a favor and check out “Where The Dog Star Never Glows” by Tara L. Masih. The vivid colors of this collection certainly will glow, and for a long time.
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