There are 22 countries in the Americas. There are 22 stories in this book. In Nicaragua they keep their tears in jars. In Honduras, their prayers sound like screams. Guyana has separation anxiety. Welcome to the Americas: 22 stories about 22 countries you thought you knew.
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There’s nothing wrong with a bit of nepotism. I’d say, in fact, that networking (a similar-looking cousin to nepotism) is vital in the publishing industry. It’s the reason we are able present you with such wonderful reviews and introduce you to so many gifted writers through the interviews we post here on LitStack.
I say this as a means to forewarn you. Jason Lee Norman is a contributor at LitStack. But a review of his short story collection Americas isn’t some blatant display of nepotism. In fact, I’ll admit to not being at all responsible for asking Jason to join our staff. (That distinction belongs solely to fellow co-founder Adrienne Crezo).
I will, however, take credit for recognizing amazing talent when I see it. We agreed to review this collection not because Jason is one of our own, but for its own merit and because he’s a gifted, dynamic writer.
As the blurb above indicates, there are, indeed, 22 countries in the Americas and Jason has crafted a story for each. The stories themselves run the gambit, injecting in the reader a cacophony of sensations: treatments to heartbreak, to reality, to the poetically visceral imaginings of the surreal.
But this isn’t a reader’s journey. Bluntly put, in Americas, Jason becomes tour guide, the bearded Master of Ceremony who recants the mad dashes he’s personally made through all the mufti-faceted terrains South and North America has to offer.
There is the “historical vignettes” of Jason’s motherland, Canada, where ties to the land and the love in those lands bonds and separates. There is the nostalgic remembrances of childhood in America and the brilliant magic surrounding and living in the people that populate South America. Really, I’m being disingenuous. Americas isn’t solely a love letter to the travels that Jason has made. It isn’t even a fictionalized version of a travel diary. Simply put, Americas is a collection of experiences, of the magical found in these countries and how those experiences collect to form climatic highs and a cryptic ending.The stories connect, are made real with sharp clarity, in pages finely honed into a powerful collection.