Collard County is a collection of 5 short stories by Tamara J. Madison. With bold characters set in rich southern tradition and lushly poetic description, each of the tales carries its own unique twist, flirting with the paranormal and metaphysical.
Subject matter includes a woman who discovers that she is literally falling apart and losing parts of herself, a mysteriously diseased, impoverished community on the wrong side of the railroad tracks, and the bewitching consequences of an unfaithful spouse.
All of the stories revolve around the universal theme of resilience amidst the worst of adversity.
This book is a collection of poetic fiction that revolves around the mystique of the meta-physical. This was a short read but purposely dense leaving a lot of time to conjure thoughts and reflect. With a poetic tone I often had to make sure I breathed correctly in order to maximize comprehension, otherwise I may have had to read a story four or five times turning a short story into a long story. With no grounds for a formal introduction, short stories often throw you right into the fire leaving you with your own resources in trying to maximize the author’s intent and motivation.
Writing a cohesive review for a book of short stories is quite difficult so I would like to share some of the thoughts I had while reading.
BARREN- Story of life on the “good” and “bad” sides of the tracks. Segregated community, acceptance of a civilization supporting selfishness for one-sided prosperity, government issued residential expropriation, concealed/disguised medical procedure for the purpose of racial cleansing, divine intervention leading to life’s freedom.
MISPLACED- Metaphorical twist on the continual regression of the mind, body, and soul from day-to-day grind of one’s life. You may give yourself willingly, but there are times when you also may permit friends, family, clientele to take more then they should. The search for lost money provided an epiphany for the need for the regeneration of a lost self. This is not something that happens over night. It takes years and years to learn this behaviour, and it will take the same amount of time for it to be repressed. Some people are givers in nature, so it is okay if the triple beam resides on that side but not for the sake of sufficiency and sustainability.
BURNT BOTTOMS- Love thy neighbour. Is infidelity wrong if your significant other is okay with it? Does woman’s intuition bear fruit and form a true reality? This is a hard realization for marrying someone physically out of your league. For me personally it is part of the reason I could not get involved with someone like Jennifer Lawrence, a fling for sure but long-term would not be beneficial for me. Certain aspects of my life would be beyond great;) with the same respect my life would be equally miserable. Insecurities and jealousy would induce angina and would put me in the ground a lot earlier than I would like. With this story the stipulations of their partnership agreement are the focus, and the whole live by the sword, die by the sword holds true. Upgrades are not always what you believe them to be.
CYCLES- The progression of spiritual prodigies knows no bounds. You are left to your own devices until a certain event takes place, not a measure of time. From that point your existence is endless and your antecedents and descendants will carry with them the experiences for life’s to come. There must be a common feeling among mother’s that have gone through strenuous pregnancies; that the birth is only a harbinger of the trouble the child will cause you, or more optimistically the baby will truly be special. Let’s hope for the latter.
HUSH- You can rewrite the future but you can’t escape the past. Story describing the rise and fall of two churches within a coloured community. The Greater Mount Olive of Galilee had traditional offerings commonly found in church. The congregation hated one another and the older members were treated with little care. Pastor was a great service to the community but became predatory as he got older. The churches downfall was contingent on his own personal demise. The African First Baptist Church was innovative, musical, entertaining and in some respects reinvented the image of God. The public were hesitant at first, but seeing the love found in the church they ended forming a tight knit congregation were there was no discrimination towards the young and old. Although successful the church is reminded of the fear often found in change, and the unfortunate reality of living during racially charged times.
Intense stories in this collection recommended.