Concord, Virginia: A Southern Town in Eleven Stories
St. Martin’s, Jul 2009, $19.99
These eleven tales focus on eleven different people (one per story) who live in the small Shenandoah Valley town of Concord between 1951 and 1974, but no in chronological order; for instance the opening act “The Vultures” occurs in 1963 twelve years after Jethro the stone carver artist found the artifact (story III). The stories interrelate with Concord as the prime connection throughout but also something that occurs to one person in a tale impacts another in a different entry; part of the fun is that the cause of an effect sometimes is described in a tale after the impacted person’s story is told (a sort of quantum physicist). Overall the anthology contains several super entries and no clinkers; though some thematic repetition happens so it pays to spread the eleven stories over a couple of weeks. Issues based on bigotry are frequent (see "The Botanist" and "The Builders"). With a nod to Thomas Jefferson, fans will enjoy these engaging short stories filled with some dark twists as Concord, Virginia comes across real and surreal at the same time. This is an engaging refreshing collection.