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  Short Stories Collection Review   

 

 
Bonneville Stories
by Mark Doyon
Pocol Press, 2001
Paperback, $12.95 (144 pages)
ISBN:  1929763093
 
 

Mark Doyon’s collection of characters and their stories revolve around Bonneville, a small Virginia town.  The book, Bonneville Stories, incorporates an unusual and varied band of characters, including a disgraced mayor, a shopping addict, a window washer to the wealthy, and a salesman.   

Doyon’s prose initiates the reader into the world of Bonneville.  A world where a woman “unexpectedly gave birth to triplets in the bathtub of her parents’ A-frame.”  A town where a fireman contemplates lightning that strikes repeatedly and controlled burns that are “like committing suicide to stop others from killing you.” 

In many of his ten stories, Doyon pits his characters against fate.  The premise and settings for many of the stories are original.  For instance, the pizza delivery boy, Ronnie, in “Deliver Me” “was driving the family tractor by the age of ten.”  Towards the end of the piece, the reader is told that the pizza turned bike messenger “[e]vidently. . . was born to deliver bad news.”  

Aaron, the 28-year old protagonist of “Early Out in Ohio,” lives and watches soap operas along with other residents of a retirement home.  Aaron attempts to set in motion an investigation about injustices at New Vistas.  When events do not transpire as Aaron plans, he apparently returns to a woman and life prior to his soap opera watching days in New Vistas.  Unfortunately for the reader, this earlier life is generally one that one has little introduction to (or concern for).  This often becomes a common theme in Doyon’s pieces and tends to weaken Doyon’s otherwise consistent prose and plotting. 

In Bonneville Stories, Doyon introduces flamboyant characters and the elements of chance and fate that the characters rally against.  While their struggles entertain by virtue of their quirkiness, in the end, the reader is unsure about a cohesive message within Doyon’s tales.  

 

Elizabeth King Humphrey
Southern Scribe Reviews
 

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