Swallowed by the Cold, Jensen Beach, 2016

This short story collection won the Vermont Award this year given by the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Beach writes in the short, sharp, plain sentences that reminded me of Hemingway and designed this second collection of his to be a series of interlocking tales. A cast of characters and events recurs in story after story as the sadness, sorrow, and tragedy of modern life builds and builds. Death, divorce, infidelity, closeted homosexuality, alcoholism, and other elements of life in Sweden swirl around Martin, Lisa, Rolf, Henrik, Lennart and others with little or no bright spots to relieve the harsh reality Jensen presents. Points for style and creativity and descriptive talent, but not a happy read.