Fairly or unfairly, short stories set in the domestic sphere of the American 20th Century tend to live in the shade of the two famous white Johns, Updike and Cheever. These two have become synonymous with the mid-century ennui of the upper middle class, a style which has been parodied and mocked and prized apart with postmodern angst and fastidiously replicated by sincere young writers, even to this day, in mainstream literary journals.
I confess to thinking of the Johns as I read the linked stories in Hola and Goodbye, the newest book by Seattle author Donna Miscolta. I imagined the protagonist of an Updike story gently sniffing his disgust when one of the Mexican immigrants in Miscolta’s stories gets too close to him on public transit, or clutching her purse closer to her side when she accidentally finds herself driving through their neighborhoods on the poorer side of town. (Before we get too far into the review, for the sake of full disclosure it must be said that Miscolta has written for my site, The Seattle Review of Books, and taken a book-reviewing class SRoB’s founders taught at Hugo House.)
Read the rest of this review in the print edition of Seattle Weekly or online here at Seattle Review of Books.
Paul Constant is the co-founder of The Seattle Review of Books. Read daily books coverage like this at seattlereviewofbooks.com.