Body Language
by Marylee MacDonald
Grand Canyon Press

"This moment was one I had waited for my entire life."

Consider the following: a group of spelunkers exploring a cave in Spain, a rancher going on a fishing trip with a girl from his past, and an elderly woman visiting her twin sister in Germany. While these stories aren’t connected, they do share a common thread in this short story collection—seeking companionship and connection. The 12 stories featured in this book revolve around mostly ordinary circumstances, where the characters are going about their daily lives and routines, such as a bartender closing up for the night or a woman flying home to visit her elderly and sickly father. In the grand scheme of things, nothing is necessarily out of order, but the moment of the story is serendipitous, providing connection or understanding that is needed. Altogether, these stories paint a picture of the human condition of wanting to love and be loved on many levels—self, romantic, platonic, and familial.

The author’s prose is evocative and fluid, with simple sentences full of meaning that add atmosphere and tension to the story at hand. They easily paint pictures of the various people featured in this collection, giving them warmth, charm, and interest while hinting at the pain beneath the surface. But the author shines most through the dialogue and the exchanges many of the characters have. Whether alluding to a failed relationship or a character’s own flaws, the author’s dialogue is natural and compelling and mimics the way strangers and confidants talk to each other. Coupled with the narrative monologue featured in many of the stories, the result is an intimate look at the different ways people identify and look for love.

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