Hanford Woods

Perfection and jewel-box finish

Mimi Morton, in a posthumous collection of short stories, told with intelligence, wit, and her ‘casually incisive way of throwing off murderously funny observations’

Set in North Haven, a fictional Vermont community with its gallery of locals, eccentrics, and survivors, probably recognizable to residents in the know, the characters in Mimi Morton's posthumously released collection of short stories, Life List, written over a period of 12 years, become as indelibly imprinted in the imaginations of the book's readers as, say, those living in Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio.

One thing that often makes a short story no more than a minor accomplishment is, paradoxically, its perfection and jewel-box finish. Mimi Morton had the sort of talent that could make that happen any time.

But the strength of these stories is in the momentum with which so many of them end. An episode concludes, but the reader understands that the characters have so much more living to do.

And, in many cases, Mimi delivers those futures, always surprising, in subsequent stories.

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