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A Reckless Moon

by Dianne Warren

A Reckless Moon explores the lives of middle-class, middle-aged characters undergoing fateful moments that propel them toward an epiphany and a thorough re-evaluation of life. Often set in Prairie cities and their suburbs, the stories are less concerned with attaining an ultimate destination than with the general idea of displacement.

A series of petty thefts reveals surprising intentions in “A Reckless Moon,” calling into question the importance of keeping up appearances while coming to terms with unsavoury realities. In “Michelangelo,” a man reconsiders his responsibilities when a new baby and a fickle neighbour enter his life unexpectedly, wreaking havoc on his sex life and parenting perceptions. And in “Moving Pictures,” one of the strongest and most ironic stories, a stable romantic relationship is devastated when memory and reality conspire to prey on one man’s fragile mental state.

Dianne Warren’s training as a playwright and editor shows in the stories’ unaffected diction and earthy, realistic dialogue. She also deftly weaves recurring motifs into the work, especially the image of driving cars. For the younger characters, driving signifies recklessness and the search for identity; for their elders, driving is both feared and desired as a means of escape and a potential collision with mortality.

All of Warren’s characters and stories are well developed, but the book offers a glut of middle-aged women dwelling on their dwindling romantic options. Nonetheless, there’s always a wry, redemptive sense that these characters have made a few satisfying choices in their lives while earning every beautiful wrinkle.