Street of Widows, Cassie Fancher 2019
This collection of 12 short stories is Fancher’s first book and the winner of the Green Mountain Press’s Howard Frank Mosher Award. The Press is a small operation in Brattleboro, VT which is committed to publishing sustainable, environmentally conscious work as well as Vermont authors. Howard Frank Mosher was a much loved Vermont story teller who died in 2013 after writing 13 novels situated in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. The Green Mountain Press created this prize to honor a first novel or short story collection. The initial prize was given in 2018 and Fancher is the second recipient, chosen by Vermont author Robin MacArthur whose books I’ve read and reviewed on this site. Fancher’s book is pretty grim though not without hope. Her characters are women who are in or recovering from difficult family situations or bad men. Hard scrabble lives with not enough money or love, falling down houses, lousy jobs, abusive husbands, black widow spider bites and vicious pit bulls—well, you get the idea. On the other hand, these stories were rather haunting and recurred in my thinking over the several days after I finished the book—certainly an indicator of fine writing. Fancher is a worthy recipient of the award that bears Mosher’s name, an excellent storyteller whose future work I’ll look forward to.