I share the author’s obsession with the old In Search of… series starring Leonard Nimoy, and Ludwigsen does a wonderful job writing pieces that resonate with that vibe. It also seems he and I share some other interests and experiences in common: with Appalachia, the mental health profession, and–if the multiple appearances of dead people in rivers are any indication–Raymond Carver’s story “So Much Water, So Close to Home.”
My issue was that, with exceptions, my general reading experience was that of being told. Yes, I realize that may even have been the point. Heck, in the story “We Were Wonder Scouts,” we’re told a story which has a scene in which a secondary character tells a story. But the approach is double-edged. There’s no question Ludwigsen has mad storytelling skills. But I didn’t always feel the sort of tension I like to feel in short-short stories.
The exceptions really touch me, though. “Mom in the Misted Lands” had such a poignancy in its telling and in its theme. “The Ghost Factory” hit a different spot, giving me a (pleasantly!) sickening “There, but for the grace…” feeling.