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Treading The Uneven Road*

Collection of Stories Bound By Place, Time, and Faith

What a lovely collection of interwoven stories that supposedly take place in the 1980s and 1990s small-town Ireland near Sligo. I was drawn to the book because I actually visited Ireland in the early 1990s myself. Some of the little cultural moments in the book (like the coin-taking phone box) brought back fond memories.

This is not a straight-up novel, but each story is tied together in a variety of ways. Sometimes the same character is multiple stories. The use of the imagery of the river that runs through town and the iconography of Roman Catholicism are other threads that weave in and out of the stories, sometimes in the foreground (as the story about the Bishop who fathered a child) and sometimes in the background (the statue of the Virgin Mary by the river seems to be a beacon for residents of the small town).

Each story has a unique tone and voice, though there seems to be a dream-like quality to all of them and time seems to be fluid in them as well. The second story is told in the third person omniscient, which is unusual.

While I enjoyed the book, I originally downgraded it by one star due to punctuation and context errors. I received an ARC over a month before its publication date, so I let the author know, and she told me that she was making corrections. I am giving this book 5 stars in the hopes that she did that, as this is truly a good piece of literary fiction.

I did receive a review copy, but that did not affect my review.

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