THE PRE-WAR HOUSE AND OTHER STORIES, BY ALISON MOORE
Alison Moore’s collection, The Pre-War House and Other Stories, is threaded by a sense of unease that speaks to the uncertainty of life’s calm patterns. Moore’s stories often upend suddenly by danger, like the steady tow of an undercurrent that should have been evident from the first sentence. Her characters, mainly young women, carry spotty histories and face precarious futures. They navigate the emotional conflicts of childhood and the domestic, and time and again find themselves the recipients of unwelcome knowledge. In “Wink, Wink,” one character’s return home prompts her to consider the role that secrets play inside her parent’s intricate relationship and leaves her questioning how well she even knows them.
Throughout The Pre-War House and Other Stories, readers are met with curious neighbors that wander into sudden violence behind closed doors: murderers, and what might be the paranormal. Moore’s writing is surprising and exact and culminates in the title story, the novella which brings the collection to a powerful crescendo.
—Review by Lucas Palmer