this review was originally posted on goodreads on 11/08/12.
In Terrapin Station, the ninth short story in Richard Thomas’ Herniated Roots, Jameson is sitting on his bench “carving away every part of the stick that does not look like a turtle.” With this collection, Thomas has done the same thing, only with our lives.
Thomas deftly sculpts away everything that lacks cohesion with his vision, be it of the moment or the lifetime, and he leaves the reader with a beautifully terrifying glimpse at what could be, what might be, and, maybe, what is. The stories vary greatly in length, from the 26 pages of Terrapin Station to the three pages of Daybreak, and in texture, from the silvery thrust of betrayal in A Bird in the Hand to the leaden cloud of regret in Kiss Off, but what never varies is the impetus to keep reading. The need to find out what happens next. And the need to know if what you’re looking at is really what you think it is.