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Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  42 ratings  ·  30 reviews
"Girl," my mama had said to me the minute she entered my hospital room, "on the highway of life, you're always traveling left of center." (from "Traveling Left of Center)

What happens when people face life situations for which they are emotionally or mentally unprepared? They may choose to allow fate to dictate the path they take. But the outcomes may not be what they
Kindle Edition, 149 pages
Published October 22nd 2019 by Unsolicited Press (first published September 9th 2014)
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Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
----Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, an American poet

Nancy Christie, an American author, spun a remarkable collection of stories about sorrow and pain in her book, Traveling Left of Center.

""Girl," my mama had said to me the minute she entered my hospital room, "on the highway of life, you're always traveling left of center." (from "Traveling Left of Center)" What happens
Wendy Janes
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this selection of short stories over a couple of weeks - one or two at a time - as a treat while I ate breakfast. A lovely start to the day.

The confessional tone pulls the reader into each character’s world, with physical and psychological detail exposing their fears, weaknesses and worries.

Relationships are a central theme. Stories of husbands and wives, and mothers and daughters feature prominently. The niggles of long marriages are writ large in the dark humor of “The Clock” and “Exit
Kate Baggott
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It can be very hard to read about characters who make poor choices, are on the less-intelligent side and end up in places we have never considered going as a result. On the other hand, fiction begins its journey where we never expected to go. Traveling Left of Center is one of those unexpected and interesting adventures.
Joannah Keats
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, ebooks
This review refers to the NetGalley edition.

First off let me start by saying that, Edgar Allen Poe aside, I don't really read short stories. I thought I'd try something I wouldn't ordinarily pick up. Therefore, if you're looking for the expert opinion of a short-story enthusiast - "this ain't it."

Nancy Christie is a masterful writer. What I really want to say, in keeping with the style of her book, is that she can write her ass off. There, I said it. She clearly has an incredibly creative mind,
Suzy Wilson
Aug 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Nancy Christie's collection of short stories gives us a veritable feast of characters trapped within lives where choice seems denied to them. In TRAVELING LEFT OF CENTER we get to shrivel inside loveless marriages, agonise over harsh parental words and wallow in oceans of regret.

All of Christie's characters are in pain. Broken, often silent, sometimes screaming, but all awash with shame and guilt and horror at what their lives have become - yet all, seemingly, helpless to change their
Darcia Helle
Have you ever wanted to be a 'fly on the wall' so you could see and hear what goes on in someone else's life? Nancy Christie offers that opportunity with this collection of stories. But Christie gives us an even better perspective than the voyeur, because we also feel the emotions.

The stories here are emotionally dark. They take us into the lives of the desperate, broken, lost, and lonely. But, while the content is dark, Christie's words hold a poetic beauty. She paints a portrait with vivid
When I received this book for review I mostly accepted it because I don’t like to refuse people. I was very skeptical and I was so sure I wasn’t going to like one bit! Boy, was I wrong.

Now, let me gather my thoughts and the pieces of paper I scribbled some ideas on so I can say this:
Nancy Christie takes the English language on such an endearing trip! She offers the readers the possibility to look at words and phrases from new angles. Words have new dimensions, really, as pretentious that must
Amy (Lost in a Good Book)
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Note: I was provided a copy of this book for review.

With her collection of stories, Christie demonstrates the consequences and reactions of people who are faced with situations and circumstances for which they are not mentally or emotionally prepared for. Through 18 captivating and unique short stories, Christie explores the way in which each of these characters responds to the pressure placed upon them and she does so with variety, style, creativity, and poignancy.

What makes these stories
A Voracious Reader (a.k.a. Carol)
Book source ~ NetGalley

There are 18 short stories contained between these covers and not one of them was what I expected. The stories are sad, shocking, surprising and, most times, heart-breaking. They start out one way and end completely different than I expected. By the time I was partway through the collection, I stopped trying to anticipate where the stories were heading and just went with the flow. While each one is a bit bleak for my tastes, there’s no doubt that Nancy Christie has
Jennifer Zuna
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was quite different from most short story collections I usually read. The stories are very unique, and as short as they are they are thoroughly engaging. They give some really unique insight into us as humans and how we treat and interact, and react, to each other. The characters are all, to the last one, trapped in some situation where they feel trapped and suppressed. The grab of the stories comes in what each character does with their situation within the stories. The end of each ...more
Pam Thomas
Jun 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a interesting concept of short stories centering on life situations where people are unable to make their own decisions because of feelings of insecurity, are both emotionally and mentally unstable leading to disastrous results, the outcomes not as they expected
Shannan Williams
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very interesting and unlike any book that I have ever read. I'm not sure what I really expected with this book but I liked it. The stories range from all different types of scenarios. Some of them I could relate too which kind of surprised me. Some of the stories I was wowed by. Overall a good book and I'm glad I read it.
*I received a copy of this book from the author. A review was not required and all opinions stated are solely my own.*
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, netgalley
4.5 stars

I consider myself a reader of novels. In my experience, very few short story authors (Alice Munro being a notable exception) can capture true emotion or deep insight in 30,000 words or less; the best I can usually hope for is an intriguing turn of phrase or two or an unexpected plot twist.

Nancy Christie's debut collection Traveling Left of Center blew those preconceptions out of the water. Although most of the stories in this collection seemed to be on the lower end of the short story
Charles Weinblatt
With her book Annabelle, Nancy Christie delivered a tour-de-force. Annabelle presents an evocative analysis of human sexuality—a journey through the mind of a woman lost between desire and guilt, unable to adequately resolve the boundaries between paternal adoration, love, and sexual desire.

Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories carries the reader farther along this compelling road to emotional redemption or inevitable descent; a journey that often devolves into unanticipated tales of
Charline Ratcliff
A noteworthy look at human angst...

Sadly, it’s taken me several months to write my review for Nancy Christie’s: Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories – not because this book wasn't riveting, but rather because I had sprained the UCL in my main writing hand’s thumb. Believe me, I tried to write; but unfortunately good intentions disappear completely when the mere site of a pen (or keyboard) causes excruciating pain. Now that my errant digit is mostly better though, let's discuss Traveling
Terri M.
A collection of 18 short stories, Traveling Left of Center by Nancy Christie takes you on a journey through the human condition. Christie is a masterful writer fully developing characters in just a few short pages. There is a quote in "Skating on Thin Ice" that summarizes this collection quite nicely.

"I have since learned that thin ice is not only a condition of winter, not confined to stretches of frozen water. There is thin ice everywhere--between lovers and friends, between reality and
Jun 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
*I received this book from the publisher and Enchanted Book Promotions, in exchange for an honest review*
This was a great collection of short stories and Nancy Christie is clearly a magnificent writer of the short story. These were intriguing and attention grabbing from the first story to the last. They are all connected by the sense that life didn’t go precisely as it should have, and that there is always something waiting just around the corner. That being said, it wasn’t always good things
Dorothy Johnston

The stories in Nancy Christie’s collection are vivid and compelling. The protagonist often finds her or himself in a trap - an impossible relationship, where the only way out is through violence to another, or oneself. In other stories, an event from childhood rears up to ambush the main character. Sometimes these characters are unable to distinguish between the fantasies they have created - for comfort, as an emotional shield – and the world of everyday reality to which they are compelled to
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susan by: From NetGalley
To say that the characters and stories in this wonderful, quirkly, darkly funny at times, collection of stories are "left of center" is an understatement: many of these folks are seriously out of the mainstream. And that's what makes Nancy Christie's stories so wonderful. Take Alice, the woman trapped taking care of her mother who refuses to die, who, as many in that situation might, loses herself in books, in her case, travel books. Alice literally devours these books. Yes, devours. She derives ...more
Victoria Wilks
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book filled with so many short stories is not normally my book choice, but I thoroughly enjoyed Nancy's collection of stories gathered together!

Although the stories are heart-breaking, emphasizing someof the darkest placesin peoples minds and within their lives, they were riveting and held your attention throughout.

Relationships are the general theme of this book, Marriage issues are raised in the brilliantly written 'Exit Row' and 'The Clock'. A daughter feeling trapped by her mother ' Alice
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
Traveling Left of Center is a beautifully written compilation of short stories that explores the lives of 18 different people who share a commonality; they are unable and unprepared to take command of their own lives.

Christie does a remarkable job of bringing her dysfunctional characters to life in just a few pages. She's able to draw readers in and help them experience the emotional anguish so vibrantly felt by her characters.

Each tale is heartfelt and moving in it's own special way. The
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars
First, let me say that I don’t feel qualified to review this book. I do not generally read short stories, Now that I have read Nancy Christie’s collection; I will certainly venture down that road again. I don’t really know where to start. I’m kind of “all over the place” with my thoughts.

The stories within this book made me think. After each one, I was actually pondering the story. I recommend that you take the time to read each one and absorb it…think about it. There are lessons to be
Book Review originally published here:

In Traveling Left of Center, author Nancy Christie introduces the reader to a remarkable collection of short stories about people who, for some reason, find themselves traveling left of center. Each character has to deal with a situation for which they’re not prepared, and this book truly shows humans at their most vulnerable, and sometimes at their most powerful when they show true strength.

Some of the stories were
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nancy Christie’s anthology of short stories is emotive and takes the reader to the very edge of comfort. Nancy steers us on a journey through the darker side of emotions, showing the twist of her character’s thoughts and where those thoughts go if they are allowed to progress. How far can you push someone before they break and do they break internally or take others down with them?

Nancy’s writing is very smooth but there is nothing sweet about these stories although there is hope in some of
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories, by Nancy Christie , is an extraordinary collection of short stories and each one is worthy of high praise. The author artfully introduces the characters and tells their stories by using solid prose. Readers are given a look into the lives of a diverse group of people- some are troubled, some are lonely, obsessed and some just fed up. Each has their own unique way of coping with their situations. I found these to be powerful, fascinating and memorable ...more
Barbara Heckendorn
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-reviewed
This book contains several short stories. Earlier I read from all those stories 'Annabelle' and 'Alice in Wonderland' which I liked very much. In each story the main character is a very special person (deranged, old and lonely, mentally disordered, psychical stressed or just to be at the wrong time at the wrong place). There is a lot of love for each main character and they are described with care. The spelling style in each story is very gripping. It's fast-paced and the outcome is never ...more
 Nyarlathotep Twelfth Month The Haunted Reading Room

A collection of literary short stories by acclaimed author Nancy Christie, these are character explorations of individuals who don't adhere to the proverbial "straight and narrow," and who tend not to think the best path is "the shortest distance from A to Z." These folks seem to prefer to meander and wander, and I don't think they've ever noticed that the road has a center line for a reason.

Included are an Introduction by
Ann Welton
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This e-book was sent to me from Pixel Hall Press in exchange for an honest review. I am a real fan of short stories so was ever-so excited to read this. It includes 18 short stories which go by very fast and furious, with each one different. I'm not going to review them here, but just to say - lots of fun for a rainy afternoon, or a wait in a doctor's office. Characters are well-developed in each one - and I found that I did not want any story to end. Please write more for us, Nancy Christie.
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Check out my review @
Sally Grotta
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exquisitely crafted short stories.
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My love affair with writing started in my childhood. Books carried me into worlds I never knew existed, and, once I learned how to write, my imagination kept me there. With paper and pen, I could bring people to life who never before existed. With 26 letters, I could create a universe of my own.

As an adult, writing is my way of making a connection with the rest of the world. Fiction, non-fiction,