The intricacies of human relationships is the primary theme in Joan Cannon’s fine collection of short fiction. If you're looking for a flashy stream of action, look elsewhere, but if you prefer incisive characterizations, astute observations and sly humor, give Peripheral Vision a try. Joan Cannon can take a microcosm of life and show it’s enduring effects. Translating the core of human emotions is never easy, but her prose, reminiscent of Louis Auchincloss, accomplishes that task with a few deft strokes.
In “A Home for Crusoe,” an elegant elderly woman who sells Crusoe, her beloved old car, to a parking garage attendant, imagines it taking the young man’s family on beach excursions and country picnics. Instead, it is reborn as a winner of stock car races.
At Christmas time an immigrant tailor loses his shop in a fire, but everything, he says, has “Complete Coverage.” Everything, the reader realizes, but the amazing gift for his granddaughter that he had worked on all year.
In one story a character has “hair as black and shiny as Mary Jane shoes.” In another, “his voice has a zing to it like a cicada in August,” and in a third, a dying man’s “IV bags dangled like tired party balloons.” In the final story, The Bear, a son visits the family’s wilderness camp the year after his mother’s death. He and his grieving father sit on the porch ”to watch the afterglow through the hemlocks. The chairs creaked softly as they rocked. They listened to the vesper songs of veeries and hermit thrushes and the towhee’s sharp ‘chink’ until full dark. By the time a whippoorwill began its insistent calling, the mosquitoes drove them inside.... “
Writing doesn’t get much better than that.
Joyce C. Ware
I confess the author is a friend, but she's also a well credentialed writer herself.