West Bound: Stories of Providence
Robert Gish writes a compelling and delightful collection of short stories that will make you frown, smile, and laugh out loud. These stories are set in the west between 1920 and 1980. The first two sections contain tales of J.J., his wife, Naomi, and son, Otis, who venture out west in search of a good climate to cure J.J.’s tuberculosis. The latter part contains an array of random short stories that are as well-constructed as the early essays. Vehicle accidents are a recurring thread – sometimes observed, sometimes experienced, yet these tend to be on the periphery of the pieces.
Gish’s talent lies in his ability to present a wide range of experiences, from J.J’s. turbulent incident in the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma, race riots to Otis’s outrageous adventures in the rodeo. Each provides wonderful insight into the characters, such as Naomi’s survival strategies with J.J.’s nervous sickness and Otis’s intrigue with Mrs. Romeo. These personal perspectives provide the reader with both warm-hearted and heart-wrenching experiences. I highly recommend this set, for there is something for everyone.