The ten short fictions in Gather us up and bring us home by Shasta Grant (Split Lip Press, 2017) centre on American small-town life in the 1980s or early 1990s. It feels like the characters could all know each other, have met in school, or at stores or local events, have driven or been driven around in an estate car, like the one pictured on the cover.
The title of the collection uses the last phrase from the final sentence of one of the stories, ‘Us Girls.’ This phrase fits very well with a theme in the collection. Many characters depicted are not ‘at home’ in their lives. In ‘Us Girls’, the mother has left and her young daughter, who now lives alone with the father, harms herself. Her so-called friends bully and taunt her on a sleep-over, find out exactly what she has been doing and make her life even more miserable and precarious.
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