Green Writers Press (2018)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (02/19)
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “frost heaves” as, “an up thrust of ground or pavement caused by freezing of moist soil.” These are most common in northeastern states like New Hampshire and Vermont. Reading about frost heaves made me think of them as speed bumps created by Mother Nature. This novel takes place in a rural fictional town in Vermont where this natural phenomenon is common. As the weather goes through its seasonal changes, so do dramatic events in the lives of the locals as they experience their own personal speed bumps in life.
The author, T. Stores, created “Frost Heaves” from a series of interconnected short stories that reflect the complicated lives of the locals. At a glance, one would assume that life would be simple in a rural town. However, as I began reading each story, I quickly discovered that this was not the case. The townsfolk are comprised of a mix of unique individuals that cover males and females that range in age from young to old. Some of these characters are straight, some gay and transgender. The desire to find lasting love and companionship radiates through the chapters. Local wildlife also plays roles in some of the stories about the natives of this town, including skunks, birds, moose, moths and even mating salamanders.
I really enjoyed the author’s creative writing style. I feel that it took a lot of talent to be able to make each chapter stand well on its own, yet still be connected to the others. It made for easier reading because the reader gets to encounter familiar characters in different chapters. Even though the characters are revisited, their personal stories are told from individual perspectives. For example, a teenage boy who is having to deal with his father’s homosexuality gets to have a story told from his perspective about how he is trying to deal with this recent news. He is experiencing a paradigm shift as he has to change how he sees his father. The father’s role changes from a heterosexual father and husband, to homosexual single male. In turn, the father gets to tell his story as a man who is finally able to come out of the closet. I believe it took a great deal of talent on the author’s part to be able to shift perspectives of the characters in each story. Stores also does well using words to create visual descriptions. Stories are brought to life by describing them in vivid detail.
I highly recommend reading “Frost Heaves” by T. Stores. I think that it would make a great selection as a text for a writing class. In addition, I think reader’s groups will really enjoy the discussions it will no doubt stimulate. I look forward to reading more novels by this creative author.