Phillip Gardner Offers New Short Story Collection, AVAILABLE LIGHT
Short story author Phillip Gardner, whose previous collections include "Somebody Wants Somebody Dead" (Boson Books 2012) and "Someone to Crawl Back To" (Boson Books 2003), has a new anthology of 18 select and prize-winning short stories, appearing as "Available Light" (Bitingduck Press, November 1, 2013).
The stories in "Available Light" are related by place and theme. Most of the stories are set in or related to South Carolina where men and women, husbands and wives, adults and young children search for connections that only love can bring: a husband seeks to understand the sudden erratic changes in his wife; adult sisters uncover truths about their long-divorced and deceased parents; a widow discovers that her need for love lives beyond the man she loved; a young boy comes to new realizations about his parents' divorce; a man struggles with his love for his child as his marriage dissolves; a father makes final preparations before telling his young daughter that her brother is dead. The final story combines the book's central motifs and speaks to the conditions of contemporary America. The main character, a plant worker on the verge of losing his job, tries to reconcile the loss of a child by finding a connection with a father he never really knew, and in doing so finds a new depth of love for his wife.
Although the subject matter for the book is serious, there are plenty of laughs, as when a wife decides out of spite to give away her ex-husband's Cadillac "to the right man"; and four men discuss their ex-wives' murder fantasies; and a woman's lover refashions her neighbor's Pooh flag into a pornographic banner. These are stories about life and death, about kindness and cruelty, about tenderness and pain; about people who, no matter what, have the capacity to love-and who know it. The first story is available for preview on the publisher site, and is offered in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.