Here Until August: Stories by Josephine Rowe
In Here Until August, a young man rows across an azure lake above a sunken town, carrying the ashes of his mother in a biscuit tin; an insular couple weathers an icy Canadian winter, listening to the comings and goings of their neighbours as they wait for spring; a taxi driver drives a once-drowned man cross-country; and a prodigal son returns home to a broken city. With these stories, and others like them, the internationally acclaimed author Josephine Rowe weaves a beautifully crafted collection that leaves the reader breathless with its beauty.
Every sentence in this book, in fact, every word, feels carefully considered and delicately placed, and the result is a collection of stories both individual and cohesive as a collected work. These stories are elegant, intimate, dreamy – and they’re best savoured, not devoured in one hit (although, that’s tempting). Each story is unique, with its own style, its own voice, and yet it is testament to Rowe’s skill as a writer that they are all unmistakably hers, and all unmistakably belong to this collection. Rowe is a writer fully coming into her strength; her writing is subtle, but devastating – she speaks to those truths universally felt but little spoken; shines a light in dusty, still corners; finds the unspoken in the gaps between words. It’s a strong writer who can craft a collection that feels so cohesive.
Stand-outs are ‘Post-structuralism for Beginners’, ‘The Once-Drowned Man’ and ‘Sinkers’, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a story in Here Until August that doesn’t sing with its own power.