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Salty air, low lying clouds, and crooning of seagulls near the towering Astoria Column and the flowing Columbia River set the scene for Humanity’s Grace: A Linked Collection of Short Stories by Dede Montgomery [978-1-949290-72-1, GusGus Press, Bedazzled Ink, January 2022]. Some may identify this book as a “novel in stories.”
Montgomery intertwines the lives of several characters from her novel Beyond the Ripples with the lives of new characters all uniquely connected to a murder in downtown Astoria, Oregon. A murder accusation throws the characters into darkness, as they reassess earlier beliefs, past decisions, and actions. A police officer haunted by his past. A young woman awakening from a vivid dream of a friend from before. A mother who wonders what she did wrong. A son who aches for others to be kind. A daughter who questions her father’s past, while her mother remembers parts of the man she had forgotten. A stranger wonders about the significance of a message she was given.
Humanity’s Grace presents the opportunity for the reader to meander through sorrow and sadness, joy and regret, all reminding us of the startling and collective beauty of life’s connections.
Learn more about the author and book from Bedazzled Ink.
Montgomery writes using the skills of a weaver; presenting rough fibers of life, sadness, and regrets, along with the soft thread of tenderness, love, and human relationships to create these stories; like a loom displays its almost finished right angles of cloth. — Doug Erickson, co-author of Jefferson’s Western Explorations: Discoveries made in exploring the Missouri, Red River and Washita
In this mysterious and moving novel in stories, infused with pitch-perfect details of everyday life, ordinary people absorbed in their personal worlds of pain and loneliness seek connections with those around them, often strangers, in a web of relationships that becomes something extraordinary. Characters move in and out of each other’s lives, thoughts, and memories, their stories coalescing into a surprising and satisfying conclusion that ultimately, through various small acts of redemption realized along the way, does define a kind of fragile and yet tenable human grace.—Jeff Fearnside, author of Making Love While Levitating Three Feet in the Air and A Husband and Wife Are One Satan
Life’s great moments are often quiet. Dede Montgomery has written a book made up of such moments, allowing readers to ponder and reflect on life. — Tom Hallman, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author whose writing explores the significance of big moments and small and their impact on life.
5 Stars on BookBub
Humanity’s Grace is a collection of slice-of-life vignettes that eloquently demonstrate the interconnection between us all. Montgomery authentically shows the joys and sorrows of life exactly as they are. She shares the poignant perspectives and emotions from each individual touched by a single event, demonstrating how fleeting life is and how significant our choices are on every person we touch. Pure genius.
Reasons I enjoyed this book: Realistic; Unpredictable; Wonderful characters
Read Beyond the Ripples, if you haven’t yet! Frank, Anne, Monica and Sarah all reappear from pages of Ripples, joining new characters in this new collection of linked short stories.
About Beyond the Ripples: “Memoirist Dede Montgomery has the uncanny ability to create the quality of presence inside story.“
—Jane Kirkpatrick, Award-winning author of Everything She Didn’t Say.”
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Thank you for your support at my February 6 Book Launch Celebration!
Where did the idea for this collection of short stories come from?
Hold on! We’ve got to save some stories for later!