Let me state right up front I like books like this, and Leaf Seligman hits all the right parts with me. From the Midway: Unfolding Stories of Redemption and Belonging is not quite short stories in that they are connected with characters travelling in and out each vignette (reminding me of Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson). It’s not quite a novel either. That may be a challenge for readers who prefer one style over the other. I’m not one of those readers. Let me be clear of one thing. The writing in this book is just plain good. Seligman has her finger on the pulse of speech, particularly that of the American South which has different dialects, vocabulary, and speech patterns.
The thematic setting of a midway is compelling. There’s a difference between a circus and a midway and once the reader understands that, there should be no confusion of the subject matter and who the individuals that occupy that world are. I love this world. It’s full of vibrant, interesting characters. And while their “oddities” may be the crowd draw, Seligman does a good job making these attractions the people who they are – with feelings, fears, and aspirations that are universal, even if their physical oddity is not. We all can relate to these situations and thoughts that the characters share with us.
The challenge with creating worlds like is that it can be one note – with everything seeming the same. That may not be for some readers, though I didn’t mind it. The book was a wonderful read that leaves an indelible impression.
I received an early copy of the book in exchange for a review.