For Other Ghosts (Awst Press, 2018)
For Other Ghosts: A Review
by Matthew B. Kelley
In this debut short story collection, Donald Quist spans lives, times, and even planets to weave a tapestry of beauty that is sure to leave its readers fulfilled.
We enter the collection through “They Would Be Waiting,” a story about a young first-generation American visiting his father’s home country of Ghana to lay his grandmother to rest. Upon returning home, the father is again confronted with a reality he thought left in his past: “…if his life in Africa was to be nothing but hurt then he would have to get a new one…” This story shows, with devastating beauty, the lives we build and sacrifices we make to have a life that is something more than hurt. In “Memorials,” a journalist juxtaposes the lives of two different Beth’s in the wake of the events of 9/11. On the day of 9/11, the journalist and young Beth are students who saw the plane crashes like most of America had, through the lens of a television and a notion that everything had changed. Through the other Beth, we see the first-hand ramifications of someone who not only felt the rumble from the plane’s impact, but also literally clawed her hands through its wreckage. In “(No Subject),” a young woman drafts an email to an old lover after her cat dies leaning against an old photo of the couple together. The email recounts putting the cat to rest and the ways in which people lose pets, family and love. With “Testaments,” a mother and daughter are thrown at odds by the mother’s fanatic religious beliefs and the daughter’s yearning to free herself from them. The story shines a light on the faith many people in cult-like sects have and the ways in which they get and cling to them. Quist takes readers on a journey through the lives of its characters that shows the ghosts that dwell in relationships and the events that forge them.
Click here to read "Memorials" from Donald Quist's For Other Ghosts. It first appeared in Auburn Avenue's Inaugural Issue (Autumn/Winter 2016).
Matthew B. Kelley is a writer from Atlanta, GA. He is a fiction fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has received fellowships from Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop and Kimbilio Fiction. He lives in Iowa City, IA.