Synopses & Reviews
The Thin Tear in the Fabric of Space gathers stories about coping with grief, trying to love people who have died, and--more broadly--leaving old versions of the self behind, sometimes by choice and sometimes out of necessity. In each of the nine stories, Douglas Trevor's characters are forced to face uncomfortable realities. For Elena Gavrushnekov in the title story, that means admitting after the death of her beloved that she still longs for contact with other human bodies. For Peter in “Central Square,” it is realizing that, like his deceased father before him, he is drinking himself to death. Unable to confront his incapacitated mother and the memory of the plane crash that killed his father, Edwin Morris in “Saint Francis in Flint” is compelled to acknowledge that his saintly aspirations are not what they appear to be, while Sharon Mackaney in “The Surprising Weight of the Body's Organs” struggles with uncontrollable outbursts of rage in the wake of her young son's death. In moments of great pain and loss, when self-expression seems impossible and terribly useless, the characters in these stories nonetheless discover the tenderness of others. In “The River,” the narrator finds that the friendship he has forged with a French girl with whom he can only just communicate has bred intense, almost intuitive compassion, while in “Fellowship of the Bereaved,” the disconsolate brother of the deceased sister who occupies the empty center of the story uncovers not only anger in his parents but also empathy and humor. As these characters persevere in their own lives, they do so mindful of, and humanized by, the experiences of having seen people they know and love slip unexpectedly into the thin tear in the fabric of space: that quiet chasm that so resolutely separates the living from the dead.
"The various protagonists of Trevor's first collection struggle to fill the void left by one or another loss (or 'tear'), often avoiding reality in the process. In 'The Surprising Weight of the Body's Organs,' Houston-based Sharon Mackaney transports donor organs from city to city, drinking alone in hotel bars to cover her grief over her son's death and her failing marriage. The title story's Elena Gavrushnekov suffering the aftereffects of surgery on a benign brain tumor and mourning the death of her lover, Casha completes her long-gestating project on cosmology as a kind of love letter to her young departmental assistant, Patti, with whom she will now have a long-awaited coffee. In 'Central Square,' Peter, an alcoholic futon salesman recently moved to Boston from a cow town, begins spending evenings in the mall with coffee-cart vendor Andrea, a Chilean migr younger than he. Their relationship, such as it is, propels him into AA and a few realizations. Trevor's writing has energy and his characters have authentic quirks, but the settings are featureless. While no one story fails completely, most, intentionally, travel on momentum alone and end in medias res, with varying results." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Douglas Trevor has published short fiction in the Paris Review, Glimmer Train, the New England Review, the Ontario Review, Epoch, and other publications. He was the David R. Sokolov Scholar in Fiction at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in 2003 and holds degrees from Princeton and Harvard universities. He grew up in Denver and Key West and currently lives with his wife and son in Iowa City, where he is an associate professor of English at the University of Iowa.