by Michael Melgaard
An honest and unaffected collection of human experiences that deftly tackles themes of grief, loss, missed opportunities, and the pain of letting go.
The stories in Michael Melgaard’s poignant debut collection, Pallbearing, offer candid snapshots of life in a small town, where the struggle to make ends meet forces people into desperate choices. In “Little to Lose,” a son confronts his mother over the crushing prison of debt created by her gambling addiction. The aging divorcee in “Coming and Going” spends her days in paranoid pursuit of evidence with which to incriminate her neighbours in the derelict trailer park where she lives. And in “Stewart and Rose,” lifelong friends find love after their respective partners die — and then face loss all over again.
With deceptively spare prose that carries outsized emotional weight and pathos, Melgaard brings his characters to life in sharp-edged portraits and all-too-human dilemmas, creating engaging stories that resonate with honesty and depth, and linger in the imagination.