By the Wayside: Stories By Anne Leigh Parrish
Marvelous. Honest. Generous. From the first story to the last, By the Wayside catches your attention and demands that you give into its every whirl. Each character unfolds with a precision that will have you wondering how Parrish managed to create such real-to-the-bones people within a world that captivates you with ease.
Genre: Fiction/Short Stories
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My appreciation for Parrish's prose and talent for creating and developing complex characters began when I read What is Found, What is Lost several years ago. For lovers of the short story form, By the Wayside offers the same. "Artichokes" is particularly satisfying as she allows the reader to reach for the subtext. This collection has a strong theme with threads of female insecurity, strength, loss, and gain, but not all stories have happy endings. Many leave the protagonist having taken action that puts her on a different path, but the future and outcome is still unknown. Readers looking to art for an escape from reality may be disappointed while readers who appreciate when art reflects life and who look to art to help them articulate latent feelings and meaning will be pleased. Books have been described as being windows, mirrors, or doors. This one is a mirror. --Cristen Iris
Anne Leigh Parrish is a truly outstanding author, and her new collection of short stories, By the Wayside, Unsolicited Press, 2017, is her best yet. With a sensitive, curious touch Anne Leigh Parrish leads the reader into the lives of a set of quirky to sublime characters, some of whom we like, and others, not so much. Each story in a slice of life and not a word is wasted as the author digs deep into the kinds of struggles women and men deal with in our time. "Artichokes" is my favorite. Tucked into the middle of the volume it is short, but you know it is just the tip of the iceberg for the beautifully developed character whose story is neatly arranged therein. Parrish deals with mismatched couples, with people who pretend to be someone else, then get caught up in their own artificial persona. Some are desperately lonely, hurt so many times or so deeply that you worry about them.It's not surprising to read about the yearning to end one's life, and also the forces that pull one back from the brink. And whether or not you believe in angels or genies, you will have the opportunity to reflect on this in short, crisp stories. I have read all of Parrish's published works, and truly, she reaches new heights of understanding and fullness of imagery with each one. This is a must read! --Mary E. Latela
Anne Leigh Parrish's stories hit an emotional nerve which ensures you will remember them. One of my favorite stories in her newest collection, "By The Wayside," is "Where Love Lies." It is about a woman named Dana who moves to a quiet, yet gossipy, island town to escape her former life. Her self-esteem is wrecked, and she wants to start over and rebuild her confidence and heal herself through her love of painting. However, as she befriends an older man and finds herself attracted to another man closer to her age, she realizes that this beautiful island town is everything but serene, and danger lurks because, as she says: "Hating was far easier than loving, and came more naturally." --Chrissi Sepe