Finished May 5
The Cage Keeper & Other Stories by Andre Debus III, read by the author
This collection of stories focuses on characters living on the margins, many dealing with situations that are challenging. They are not always easy to read, but they feel real.
The story The Cage Keeper's main character is a worker in a halfway house, a job he took on through family connections. When one of the inmates goes off the rails, he finds himself struggling to deal with the situation.
Duckling Girl has two characters that end up connecting, a sad illiterate girl, abused and resigned to her life situation, and a man who takes a step away from his privileged life as he plans a life to help those in difficult situations.
Wolves in the Marsh has a young boy who has a moment of personal growth as he hunts alone in the marsh near his home.
Forky has a man recently released from prison, entering his first relationship since his release and dealing with his issues from his incarceration.
Mountains is the account of a waitress, unhappy in her relationship with an ex-soldier struggling with PTSD, as she looks for an escape from her sadness.
White Trees, Hammer Moon has a man who is about to go to prison taking his two estranged stepchildren on a camping trip as a farewell gesture before he leaves.
Last Dance is the account of a night-time turtle hunt from a man doing this for the first time with an old friend and his mentor.
Dubus's writing is casual and matter of fact, yet somehow brings the emotions to the fore. His reading of the book emphasized this, with his voice just reading on calmly despite the desperation and sadness the words evoked.