Edited by Liz Prato
Forest Avenue Press, $18.00, 236 pages

The deeper one goes into The Night, and the Rain, and the River, the more one is submerged into a world filled with lonely, confused, and lost people. These are the consistent themes found throughout the anthology of twenty-two short stories, all penned by Oregonian writers. Liz Prato, who edited and compiled the anthology, says she hopes The Night, and the Rain, and the River will “help other people feel less alone.” This publication certainly accomplishes that.

The Night is a mixture of short stories with addicts, broken or changing families, and a few people who just don’t fit in. As a character from author Gregg Kleiner’s “The Blue Jackpot” reflects, “I doubt she knew how hard it would be when she wrote it out.” The reader realizes that some things in life can be tough, sometimes just about the toughest thing a person can do. These difficult challenges create connections between the reader and the very human characters found in The Night. What’s more, the difficulties faced by the characters will remind any reader to nurture human connections within their own lives.

Selecting stories from authors of varying experience, Prato has compiled a beautifully tied together anthology. After journeying through the collection, the reader will have been through many a scenario and state-of-mind no one hopes to find themselves in. It is well worth the journey, however, as lovers of short fiction will find solace in The Night, and the Rain, and the River.

Reviewed by Kristin Urban

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