In her debut collection of short stories, Other Likely Stories, author Debra Leigh Scott comes off, in many ways, like a latter-day William Faulkner. It isn’t Scott’s prose so much that leaves this impression—at the sentence level, she and Faulkner shine in different ways. What carries the day in Scott’s case is her attention to place and its relationship to character.
Set, like much of Faulkner’s oeuvre, in the American South, Other Likely Stories follows the lives of two sisters, Rachael and Midgy Meade, and their cousin, Marlena Galloway, over a twenty-year period beginning in 1955. Given the time period, it’s not surprising that Scott’s interconnected stories echo many of the themes of Kermit Moyer’s The Chester Chronicles: Vietnam, family secrets, and the turbulence of the 1960s, to name just a few. Yet where Moyer examines these issues in terms of a young man’s coming of age, Scott’s female protagonists allow the reader to discover all of the ways in which suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous (mis)fortune have the potential to make us all the more human.
An intimate and sometimes painful window into the souls of three women, Other Likely Stories introduces readers to an author of profound talent and great emotional insight. Keep an eye out for more from Debra Leigh Scott, including her debut novel, Piety Street, which is due later this year.