The Winter Without Milk
“Can one desire too much of a good thing?” asked William Shakespeare. Jane Avrich has created fifteen short stories which magnificently address this question. Literary characters are transported by their own hubris, insisting that they must continue their quest for satisfaction. Thus, the collection begins with “La Belle Dame sans Merci,” who adapts her own identity to Keats’ lady as she seeks another woman’s husband, and moves through other fictional characters’ lives with serious, comic, surreal, and mysterious tones. Meet the young child seduced by the “collectors of curiosities,” trash traders who discover the true identity of rich and poor discarders, an interior designer who becomes temporarily part of her own creations and their oblivion, a sophisticated gentleman seeking a literary lioness, an obsessed woman waiting for the fulfillment of her “vaunting ambition” amidst the “prickly pears,” an innocent but vengeful revolutionary figure enchanted by an elderly coy music teacher, a thoughtless son comically and mindlessly pursuing a seer’s prophecy, and much more. Intense darkness paralleling uplifting and hilarious wickedness keep the reader totally absorbed in this amazing journey through the wondrous world of fictional classics. Classic book lovers will forevermore remember Lady Macbeth, Oedipus, Scheherazade, Kafka, Keats, and other creators and creations with these memorably and finely crafted tales.