Street Symphony
Coteau Books / 4 September 2015

Street Symphony by Rachel Wyatt Published by Coteau Books Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $18.95 ISBN 9-781550-506181 Rachel Wyatt’s short story collection, Street Symphony, opens with an epigraph from Emily Dickinson: “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers –That perches in the soul-”. The epigraph is wisely chosen; in several of the 17 stories the protagonists are unhappy, and for good reason – job losses, accidents, partners’ deaths – and thus hope for a brighter tomorrow is what they cling to. These are characters for whom “The universe had tilted.” There’s Jason, in the story “Salvage,” who lost his wife in a car accident after they’d had a fight about her desire to get a pet fish. In the aftermath of her death Jason empties much of his furniture into a dumpster, and accidentally “bakes” some of his wife’s photographs in the oven with the lasagna. “But he sat on the floor and ate it as a penance, charred paper and all. He knew now that he had to suffer in order for the world to tilt back to its proper axis.” The story is a powerful examination of grief, which can certainly defy logic, and it’s also representative of how…

Coteau Books / 24 May 2013

Suspicion by Rachael Wyatt Published by Coteau Books Review by Michelle Shaw $14.95 ISBN 9781550505177 Candace Wilson is missing. She left home for an early dentist appointment and then vanished. Now the little town of Ghills Lake is enveloped in suspicion. One of the town’s inhabitants, an anonymous chat-room regular known only as Marguerite, has seen something and seems determined to stir up suspicion. But then she too is felled by an accident… As a lover of mysteries, I eagerly dipped into veteran author Rachael Wyatt’s latest book. It wasn’t quite what I expected. I’d never read one of her books before so, from the description, I was expecting a fast paced mystery. Instead, I was caught up in a psychologically layered chronicle of the suspicion that surrounds the various people in Candace’s life. Candace’s husband Jack is stressed and frustrated by the innumerable delays in his multi-million dollar housing development that, he is sure, will transform sleepy little Ghills Lake. Did he lash out in a stress-induced rage? Or was he perhaps overcome with fury when he found out about Candace’s brief affair? Could her sister be responsible? Erica and Candace have been at odds for years, and she…

Letters to Omar
Coteau Books / 25 May 2011

Letters to Omar by Rachel Wyatt Published by Coteau Books Review by Sharon Adam $21.00 ISBN 978-1-55050-448-4 Letters To Omar is a novel by Rachel Wyatt which revolves around three lifelong friends as they plan a dinner for a charity supporting Afghan civilians. Dorothy writes intimate fantasy letters to Omar Sharif and other notable people, none of which are sent. The letters attract the attention of a publisher, newly arrived from Europe and looking for his first project. Add to the mix an estranged husband looking to return, a daughter who returns from a self-imposed exile and other family chaos and you have the beginning of a story that will surprise and delight. Family is a huge part of the story: we feel Delphine’s confusion as her son leaves home for Afghanistan, not as a soldier but as a volunteer aid worker. We feel her guilty delight of having her home to herself, and resentment when a visiting cousin ruins that sense of privacy. People do odd things, sometimes in the face of common sense and the advise of friends. We are not always in control of our emotions and the heart doesn’t always agree with the head. Eventually we…

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