Casey Bush's Reviews > The Expense of a View

The Expense of a View by Polly Buckingham
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it was amazing

The stories in Polly Buckingham’s collection "The Expense of a View" provide the kind of painful enlightenment that I would prefer to know more from fiction and less from personal experience. Her writing resonates with a dark simplicity reinforced by a sense that what happiness and love can be found must be treasured and hoarded as a precious commodity. These melancholy stories provide me with reassurance that I am not alone in wanting to examine wounds whether perpetrated by a senseless deity, wreaked by a blind source of justice or self-inflicted in an effort to resolve inner conflict.

A mother tires to coax her son into another CAT scan during a brief remission from his cancer. After passing around a serving of guilt a couple abandons Thanksgiving dinner and is drenched by the Seattle rain. A father in Florida waits up late for fish to swarm while trying to accept the fact his prodigal son will not return. The Oregon Coast is the setting for a story bemoaning lost love and another where a lonely woman is drawn to a drug addict between binges. A young boy, neglected by his father, goes on a walkabout with his dog through the scablands of Eastern Washington.

These are stories with a sense of place where people live somewhere long enough so that a portion of that landscape is written into their lives, branding them with a sorrow that cannot be erased. Anton Chekov wrote “At the door of every happy person there should be a man with a hammer whose knock would serve as a constant reminder of the existence of unfortunate people.” Polly Buckingham is such a person on the other side of the wall and "The Expense of a View" is her hammer.

Casey Bush
Senior Editor, The Bear Deluxe Magazine
Portland, Oregon
exploring environmental issues through the literary and graphic arts


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Reading Progress

December 20, 2016 – Started Reading
January 10, 2017 – Finished Reading
January 18, 2017 – Shelved

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