Each of A. G. Harmon’s finely crafted stories is a portrait of a human soul—a Mexican tree cutter, burdened with a guilty heart, shares his need for atonement; a retired physician, who has been for his patients “the one to whom they held when they realized, at last, that love alone could not save them,” longs for the purpose and connection that his hobbies cannot provide; an English professor finds himself on the run, trying to escape the ecstasy his gift for teaching arouses in his students; an aging B-list actress longs for the day when she was seen and admired; an injured department store pianist comes to terms with the limits of his gifts and his life; an elderly florist rages against the changing times and attitudes that are driving her to bankruptcy; and more. All are flawed, needy human beings confronting endings of one sort or another—the loss of a dream, of a relationship or career, of an era, or of life itself—and meeting these endings with emotions that range from panic, to ecstasy, to blessed acceptance.
Harmon is a gifted, compelling storyteller, and his characters are beautifully and sensitively rendered. Whether they are funny and awkward, lost and stumbling, in a panic or serene, light shines through them, gently glimmering as it plays on the threads of memory, or flaring brightly as their souls open in moments of realization.
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