Article by Jeri Walker-Bickett
Amidst Traffic: Provoking Wonder
The twenty short stories in Michel Sauret’s collection Amidst Traffic explore the ways people grapple with faith. Readers seeking stories with a heavy dose of christian-infused themes will not be disappointed. Those who prefer slice-of-life stories with more subtle themes will likely find the stories a bit heavy-handed. Either way, the collection demonstrates the author’s craftsmanship of the short story form.
While I do not regularly read Christian literature, I do make a point to read short story collections. The title, Amidst Traffic, provides a hint at the interwoven nature of the stories. A minor character or incident in one story will later turn up as a major focus in another. Such an attempt at structuring is admirable, though not always pulled-off satisfactorily due to the number of stories in the collection.
The stories in the first half of Amidst Traffic struck me as being the strongest ones. The inter-connected nature of the stories felt more organic, as did the overall energy. As with any collection, some stories will grab the reader’s attention more than others. I particularly enjoyed “Clouds in the Water” for its excellent suspense and the way it shows the audacity of youth. It also cleverly cleared up the mystery introduced in the first story. “Rolling Down the Mountain” Another favorite of mine was “Rolling Down the Mountain” which draws attention to the perils of belonging and overcoming via an overweight teen’s initiation into the Brotherhood.
After a while, some of the stories felt a bit repetitive and could have been condensed. A handful focus on an Army journalist named Myron. Due to the amount of pages devoted to developing his character, they would be better off becoming part of a novel. The autobiographical nature of the Myron stories could definitely be expanded upon.
I for one, most enjoyed how many of the stories had open endings. While some readers may like loose ends tied up, there’s much merit in leaving the final implications of a story on the reader’s shoulders. It’s a rare writing talent that can provoke that sense of wonder.
What short story collections have made an impression on you?
You can connect with Michel Sauret on his author website.
JeriWB’s Rating: 4.0 Stars (“Really Liked It”)