Every now and then I like to read a short story collection to mix things up with all of the novels I read so I picked Gregory Miller’s On The Edge of Twilight: 22 Tales To Follow You Home. I found this collection odd and while I liked some of the stories individually, I didn’t like On The Edge of Twilight as a whole. The stories I liked best were: The Forest and The Trees, The Return, Time to Go Home, and Supper-Time. Miller writes these stories with great focus and the appropriate amount of detail to create and sustain a believable, fictional universe. These stories did not have the abrupt and startling endings of the remaining eighteen stories. The conclusions to these stories flowed naturally in pace with their overall plots and made logical sense. In particular, Time to Go Home and Supper-Time are excellent stories with a pleasant, bitter-sweet, emotional tug.
However, with the remaining stories, Miller veers off into melodramatic dialogue or confusing descriptions of a character’s actions. For example, when I read The Subject, I found the main character’s expressions of his devastated emotional state unbelievable and melodramatic. The Subject is a story where sympathy for the main character helps “make” the story, but instead, the dialogue distracted me from the plot and pace of the story and my sympathy for the main character vanished. As written, The Subject does not work. If Miller removed the emotional melodrama and its weak dialogue out of this story, The Subject would become a stronger short story.
Even though I didn’t like this book, there are a few things about On The Edge of Twilight that I do like. For whatever reason, I just love it when authors use the same town as the setting for multiple stories. Miller’s use of Still Creek, Pennsylvania as the setting for this collection reminded me of Bradbury’s use of Green Town, Illinois as the setting for many of his short stories as well as Dandelion Wine. Stephen King uses Derry, Maine or Castle Rock for several short stories and novels such as It and Needful Things. I just know that when these towns appear in these author’s stories, something weird will happen and Still Water, Pennsylvania is yet another odd place to mark on The Literary Atlas.
The other element that I did like about Miller’s collection is that many of the stories had grandparents as the main characters and I find that pleasantly unique. That said, I found that some of the stories in On The Edge of Twilight, did not fit with what I thought was the main theme of the collection. Shells and The Subject are two stories that come to mind that I believe would fit in a separate collection.
So while there were things I liked about Gregory Miller’s On The Edge of Twilight: 22 Tales to Follow You Home, I found the abrupt endings of most of the stories and the over-the-top descriptions in those stories an overwhelming negative to this short story collection.