by F. de Sales Meyers
Tied together by the current of the sexual and psychological human drama that swirls around any place where people gather together in community, the narratives in The Slow Creek and Other Stories sweep the reader along. Peopled with the characters of a small town in Appalachia living in the shadow of Big Savage Mountain, these stories unearth a darkness that lies buried in the town's communal soul, deep as the veins of coal that drew these people to this place and brought them together. Miners, hucksters, coal pickers, hermits, prostitutes, the dead and others ready to die walk the streets and cemetery on the hill.
In the title story, Walter Henderson is one of these. He has come back to the town to die, but there is something he must do first. And there is Arnold Williams who decided at the age of sixty-two that he would become invisible. There are the men who gather at the asthma bench to tell lies and jokes and discover a violent truth that haunts one of them. There is the woman who claims she is bringing the author of Roget's Thesaurus to town and Belle Halloran determined to find her place among those who scorned her. And all the others who seek escape and freedom from that which would bury them.
These strangely fascinating tales hypnotize the reader like a car accident you can't turn away from. In the background, an undercurrent of music plays Taps or a drum beats, and the jazz band weaves a spell that enchants and mesmerizes like the call of the Sirens. It is a soundtrack of sorrow that perfectly matches the sadness that sucks at the spirit of the town and its citizens like a whirlpool.
It is true, just as Lil tells Walter Henderson in the titular story, that there are no secrets in a small town and nothing is ever entirely forgotten either. F. de Sales Meyers goes behind the walls and into the barns and up the mountains to expose those secrets and tell those stories so they are not forgotten.