North of Nelson: Stories of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – Volume 2

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Continuing his series of short stories set north of Nelson (MI) from his first volume,  Hilton Everett Moore has included five stories in North of Nelson: Stories of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – Volume 2 (Silver Mountain Press, 2023). These stories share a lot in narration and characterization with those in the previous volume, but some  differences would stand out to readers.

As in the first volume, the characters in this book are primarily living in rural Michigan, though in more recent times than in the older tales. Moore’s approach to storytelling in the second volume is literally more naturalistic, and it’s the realism of depiction of the farm/country living that accounts for the intensity of the situations in these tales. Animals and native land take center stage here, the latter passing for sacred grounds, as manifestly put in the story Ode to a Lone Wolf.

Moore’s last story in the book, Lust and Lightning, stands out as notably different in theme and mood than the rest of the book. Dealing with adult dating/relationship, it does share common ground with the other stories, mainly rivalry and deception. And since Moore has to have a binding thread of tragedy across his short fiction, this one too is no exception.

For readers sensitive to depictions of violence and distress in animals, the stories in this volume have some graphic descriptions, like in scenes of hunting and predation that make important substance in some stories.

The author includes a few pages of family history wherefrom he drew many of his characters and situations. It’s a touching section showing how so many people are related through shared memories that survive through cycles of death, generation after generation.

North of Nelson: Stories of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – Volume 2 on the whole is less intense in plots and characters than the first volume but the aesthetic power of Moore’s storytelling remains consistent across all stories.

Disclaimer: The reviewer works with the publisher of this book but has not worked on this title in any capacity nor has been compensated for reading or reviewing the title. The review copy was accepted specifically on the terms of independence and freedom of opinion.

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781736744918


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