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Steeped in skepticism, the stories in Michael Bryson's first collection nonetheless radiate a deep hope. An incarcerated juvenile is glad for time to think. A street kid running from an abusive past finds comfort in a warm, safe bed. A cafe waitress contemplates the violent death of a stranger and moves on in her life with renewed vigour.The stories echo writers of an earlier age, writers like Ernest Hemingway and Robert Frost, who also integrated light and darkness in their visions of the tortures of everyday life. Byson's stories focus on common human problems, struggles all people share. The stories penetrate the abstractions and deep irony of our mass media culture which threaten to swamp our connection to our deepest emotions. Fear. Hurt. Hope. Confusion. Anger. Desire. Thirteen Shades of Black and White touches all of these eternal hot buttons, revealing again that contradiction and conflicting, unreconcilable needs form the foundation of the human heart.
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