Clifford-Nixon looks at love, loss, relationships, mortality, morality, grief, pain, revenge, and redemption in her latest, a collection of short stories. Most of the pieces in the volume have a similar theme: regardless of what stories are apparently about, at the core, they are about loneliness, deception, and loss. Subtle and witty, “Dear Diary,” is a standout, mainly because it feels so relevant and timely. In “Wishful Thinking,” a berated wife gets her wish granted unexpectedly. The heartbroken protagonist gets sweet revenge in “On Reflection.” Clifford-Nixon writes about human drama, interpersonal interactions, and relationships with subtlety and precision. The wife in “Mirror Mirror” is yearning for understanding and care, unaware of the tragic fate awaiting her ahead. The unsettling ending in “A Logical Explanation” is evocative of the slim, beckoning veil between the natural and the otherworldly, between the seen and the unseen that Clifford-Nixon swings throughout her collection. Almost all of the stories have an eerie quality, many of them with eerie images: a dead woman comes back to life just to rearrange her affairs; a computer programmer unintentionally unleashes a deadly paranormal virus on the world. But as unsettling as these stories can be, Clifford-Nixon also delves into the intricacies of marriage and relationships. Dark, unsettling, and subtle, the collection makes for a must-read.
Categories: Non Fiction