The stories in Hunger Moon, the first collection of short fiction by Traci Skuce, are tales of yearning, of people longing to expand their horizons, take some chances and see what life has to offer. Skuce’s characters are often struggling to understand and come to terms with their own urges, needs and desires. They feel hemmed in and want to break the rules.
In “Promontory” Zoe, backpacking around the world, has landed in Australia and teamed up with another backpacker, named Drew, who is older and more experienced. Drew, a carefree risk-taker, likes having sex with Zoe but has no wish to be burdened with her naivety and neediness for any longer than necessary, and Zoe often finds herself in the position of following in Drew’s steps, wanting to please him, trying not to be left behind. But when on an impulse and without preparation Drew takes her into a wilderness area far from human settlement, and then suffers an injury, she must draw on every ounce of strength she can muster, though there’s no guarantee it will be enough to save them. In “To the Ravine,” Beth dreams about classmate Toby Forbes, her lustful fantasies fueled by romantic visions straight out of Romeo and Juliet. But when he proposes an assignation with her and she follows him out to the ravine, it turns out his motive is not what she’d expected or hoped and has nothing to do with romance.
A few of the stories focus on the travails of marriage and motherhood. In “Elephant Shoe” Tess, saddled with a newborn baby, has tied herself to an irresponsible dopehead whose promises, she discovers, mean nothing. And in “Needs,” a young mother struggles physically and mentally to satisfy the interminable demands of her husband and her newborn.
In her debut collection, Traci Skuce digs deep into her character’s lives, examines friendships and childhood betrayals with brutal honesty. Her writing is sharp, observant and elegant. Hunger Moon is an enjoyable, provocative and often surprising collection of short fiction that deserves praise and admiration.
Traci Skuce graduated from the Pacific University low-residency MFA program in 2015. Her short stories and non-fiction have appeared in several publications across North America including Grain, New Ohio Review, The New Quarterly, and Prairie Fire, and have been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and two Journey prizes. For the past twenty years, Traci has lived in Cumberland, BC with her husband and two sons.
- Publisher : NeWest Press (April 15 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 240 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1988732808
- ISBN-13 : 978-1988732800
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