Friday, June 25, 2010

Neighbors by Victor J. Banis

Reviewed by Alan Chin
Published by Untreed Reads Publishing
Pages: 6

Linda is a woman caught in a marriage going nowhere. She stocks shelves at the 7-Eleven during the day, has dinner on the table before her man, Ray, walks through the door of their little trailer, and then pretends pleasure while he makes love to her at night. It’s a small life, a rather sad life. She feels trapped, but with a simple neighborly gesture, the lesbian woman who lives a dozen feet away, offers her hope.

Short stories are often about turning points in a character’s life. Some times that’s a physical act, like walking out the door and not looking back. Other times it is merely a little switch that turns on or off inside the mind, a switch that means life going forward will be different. Neighbors is such a story.

With consummate skill, Victor Banis weaves a short but powerful story of a woman’s quiet desperation. I felt her pain, her longing. The loneliness this heroine experiences is universal to us all, and all too real.

It takes great skill to pack so much story into six pages. Victor Banis not only captures this woman’s essence, he does it with an impeccable voice. He manages to bring both humor and pain with the same well-chosen words. This is a deeply emotional story that will stay with a reader a long time.

I can highly recommend this marvelous story to all readers.

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