Synopses & Reviews
The effects of war hover like a leaky umbrella over the 10 stories that furnish Mogelson’s cogent debut collection which finds veterans active servicemen and those around them struggling through conflicts at home and in combat. In “To the Lake” a troubled ex soldier drives into a New England snowstorm in hopes of reaching his estranged girlfriend yet ends up instead at the home of another damaged veteran after among other events his truck loses control and crashes. “Visitors” follows the mother of a soldier in prison for an accidental murder as she grows accustomed to seeing her son behind bars. Across the ocean “A Beautiful Country” finds a former commando traveling the vast expanse of Afghanistan for work as an independent military contractor and “Total Solar” concerns a journalist caught in an attack on a garden restaurant in Kabul. Perhaps the strongest story is “Kids” which studies grief through the eyes of an active Army captain as he loses comrades within his unit and outside his patrol base. Mogelson follows a traditional story structure throughout often feathering in backstory in expected ways and his narratives remain compelling. Hope is hard to come by in this collection but the stories will linger with the reader. (Apr.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."