Where the Dog Star Never Glows
Published By: Press 53
Book Category: Fiction, Short Stories
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Reviewed by Beth Cummings
Reading a collection of short stories has the same connection to reading a novel as sampling a selection from an hors d'oeurves tray has to sitting down to a complete meal. Each selection is distinctly unique and the best ones leave you craving more of the same.
Tara Masih's stories range from pathos to light slices of life, from Dominica and Puerto Rico to Long Island, Montana and Mexico. Yet she captures the sense of place in whichever setting she chooses. Some, like Catalpa, are bare snippets - flash fiction in less than two pages while others, like Delight, are nearly small novels. In all she quickly develops characters that ring true with quirkiness and style.
The title story, Where the Dog Star Never Glows, is a piece about a coal miner on his way home. The action takes place within the space of an hour or so, but with flashbacks Masih manages to detail many of the difficulties and realities of a coal miner's life.
Catalpa is an extremely quick piece that covers a daughter's opinion of a father who is obsessed with a tree.
I think my favorite was the final piece, Delight. A candy maker in Puerto Rico meets a surfer and despite major differences in their backgrounds find the commonalities that can bring them together. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of candy making, surfing and wave riding.
This is Masih's first book, but she has published many stories in literary magazines and chapbooks. It seems quite likely that this will not be her last book. Fans of short literature should seek out her work, it is excellent.