The Late Season by Stephen Hines
The Late Season
Characters experiencing loss predominate in these short stories by Stephen Hines. In the title story, a man whose wife has died overstays his welcome at a motel. His presence affects the family owners; he’s lost and looking for answers but they can’t help him. In A 1946 De Soto, a 13-year-old-boy whose father has gone and a young garage attendant whose girlfriend has gone ponder life’s disappointments. Terror at the fear of loss turns to joy but that is stupidly undone, and real loss is caused in the gripping Honeymoon. In What Old 78s Cost, the protagonist’s mother goes missing from her nursing home. Albert in This Time, Right Here lost his mother to suicide after her husband left her for a younger woman, and lost his wife to pancreatic cancer, so that he has “kind of come untethered”. All of this might suggest unremitting bleakness but that is not what one ultimately comes away with from reading this remarkably assured debut collection.