Planting Wolves
by Neda Disney
Tandem Books Inc.

"Eventually, walls were built to protect their hearts."

This series of vignettes introduces a cast of six lonely people who find themselves experiencing something extraordinary, whether good or bad, as a manifestation of themselves and their desires. For example, a production assistant gets stigmata. Other stories focus on situations such as a writer finding himself in a purgatory bar or a sex addict’s marriage falling apart. Some take it in stride, while others lash out, worried about how to fit in with the world around them while dealing with these newfound developments. Unbeknownst to these six, they’re all connected to each other through this invisible thread of circumstances.

Mixed with a little surrealism, this book is a curious glance into humanity’s universal search for connection. The book deals with themes of loneliness, self, and validation, as many of the feature characters struggle one way or another to come to grips with who they are. Oftentimes for the individual, it is usually their desires or their intended goals that end up pushing everyone away, reaping an unintentional result which is delivered ironically. Some learn their lesson, while others fail to realize the fault lies within themselves.

Each chapter is dedicated to one of the novel’s protagonists, fully exploring their psyche, their situation, and their decisions. The chapters focusing on the housewife and the costume assistant are some of the strongest, due to each character’s awareness of their own faults. The author excels at the use of voice, distinguishing each chapter and each character from one another successfully. The different personalities of each one shine through, even though they are all experiencing the struggle of being trapped in their routine life. The result is a collection of thought-provoking stories of human connection.

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