Things I Will Tell You When I Am Dead
Author: Kathleen Whelan
Title: Things I Will Tell You When I Am Dead
Trade Paperback: 130 pages
Suggested Retail: $19.95
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Press Release: Click on the press release link below if you would like to see the full PDF Press Release.
Things I Will Tell You When I Am Dead employs a direct form of storytelling in order to bring to life a series of stories that are at once life affirming and starting in their testament to lives that attempt to follow simple paths add end up creating complex routes toward poignancy, affirmation, deception, and self-revelation.
Things I Will Tell You When I Am Dead is a collection of stories that begin, one after the other, with a naked simplicity of style that suddenly and seamlessly moves into startling images that both disrupt and push forward a flow of vivid startling narratives. This combination of direct storytelling and dream like images creates a beautifully conceived arrangement of life altering memories. From the stark, unsettling creation of “a nun dressed in a white habit” overshadowed by the reality of “twelve million gallons of radioactive water” (Energy) to the childhood memory of a mother’s warning regarding the selling of “children into the white salve trade” (Blueberry Pie) Whelan has created a succession of symbols and dreamlike image-scapes that will stay with the reader long after the final, powerful words of this remarkably beautiful collection.
Things I Will Tell You When I Am Dead is a testament to the ways in which the short story form can both elevate and re-define the simplest, at times most tragic – and comic – incidents that shape and create a single life. From nuclear disasters to Elvis ‘sightings’ that invoke scenes of cowboys and falling mattresses, these stories attend to the representation of life’s most madcap adventures with a surefooted sense of how narrative moves seamlessly, both in and out of tragedy and comedy at the flick of wrist and the turn of a word. A photograph of a woman in a lace nightgown becomes a premonition for beauty in the life of a curious child. A young woman’s longing moves forward into a life spent far away from the original images that shape longing, desire, and the ability to move through a variety of life-changing experiences, through childhood and into maturity.
In Geography the writer crafts a story that opens with a direct and startling encounter between a man and a woman that illustrates the complex and material ways in which we engage with the present and the past. The final instalment of this thirteen-tiered collection ends with religious imagery that reprises earlier themes and makes the reading of Things I Will Tell You When I Am Dead a truly moving and life affirming experience that exists in heavenly realms above and beyond the phenomenon of earthly experience.