Here Until August (Josephine Rowe, Black Inc.)
A man reflects on a life-changing act his brother committed many years ago; a cab driver in America picks up a mysterious passenger who wants to be driven over the Canadian border; a newly married couple carefully navigate a recurring argument in the midst of a road trip. The stories in Josephine Rowe’s third short fiction collection traverse continents and characters, but their connecting thread is how they capture their protagonists at a particular juncture in their lives. Many of the stories in Here Until August hinge on past events or decisions that have somehow shaped their characters’ present, and Rowe effortlessly makes this reflective approach to her storytelling feel captivating and emotionally charged. Her prose is crisp and evocative, and certain lines deftly pin down the small but meaningful moments that define human experience: a wife imagines her husband ‘leaving the house each morning with pieces of himself hidden in his shoes, his coat lining, folded up small between the pages of his lecture notes’; a young woman stands at a window and imagines it as ‘the kind of window where if you just stand for long enough, somebody will come and put their hand on your shoulder’. Here Until August is a powerful and intimate collection that’s sure to hold strong appeal for literary fiction readers.
Carody Culver is a freelance writer, assistant editor at Griffith Review and a contributing editor at Peppermint magazine