The World to Come

With the release of his fifth story collection, Shepard (You Think That’s Bad; The Book of Aron) continues to weave interlacing narrative threads that imaginatively evoke time and 51vEbW2H5CL._AC_UL320_SR222,320_place. Thematically, the ten stories in this collection illuminate both the comedy and the tragedy of humanity’s tethering to the vagaries of the universe. Whether it’s soldiers marooned on a radar station in the Atlantic Ocean or the racing mind of a parent moments before a tsunami destroys Crete in 365 CE, each of the tales in this collection re-creates the human circumstances around largely forgotten events. In the title story, the author beautifully narrates a tragic love story through a series of diary entries that presage the ungovernability of both the weather and the heart’s desires. Every page is a disturbing reminder that control is a mere illusion we employ to salve our consciences. VERDICT Shepard’s ability to rotate the masks of comedy and tragedy in a single story while poetically blending fact and fiction is on full display in this collection.