Smooth, confident, amiably detached prose characterizes Prudence MacGregor’s Trilogy, which perfectly complements the smoothly confident, amiably detached protagonists of these tales. The reader is placed contentedly at arm’s length, perhaps sitting the other end of the “celadon green sofa” in the bookstore, or leaning against the bar of a newly built hotel, while protagonists watch and analyze the strangers walking by. An initial story, in which a woman of scholarly deliberation suddenly finds her predictable world falling apart, leaves the reader oddly unsettled, wanting more. But the next story moves far away to the tale of an unsettled teenager, finding the world holds more secrets than she’d supposed. The trilogy ends with a thoroughly delightful tale of incipient unresolved love—a story that feels like the most complete of the three and rounds the collection out perfectly. For myself, I wanted the book to be longer, with more leisurely exploration of the character’s fates and perhaps with a clearer link between the tales, but maybe that tells you more about me than the stories. Repeating characters would have appealed tremendously, to deepen the sense of time and place. That said, the stories remind me of beloved Ray Bradbury tales or the Twilight Zone, making this a thoroughly enjoyable collection—I just wish it were longer.
Disclosure: I received a free pre-release copy of this novel for review purposes.