Unblinking (Made in Michigan Writers) (Paperback)
Wayne State University Press, 9780814346716, 208pp.
Publication Date: May 6, 2019
Of Lisa Lenzo's first collection, Charles Baxter wrote: "Lenzo's stories have a strong pulse of feeling and a sly intelligence, and her angels, children, and lovers have an eerie radiance, a hard-won wisdom, that you can spot on any page of this book." In Unblinking, Lenzo's angels, lovers, and children are back-older, sometimes wiser, and shedding new light.
All ten stories in Unblinking take place in or circle back to Detroit and portray both the beauty and grit of the city and its inhabitants. In "Up in the Air," a blues musician cherishes his memory of falling from a tree - "the utter sweetness of falling, of floating, almost still" - even though his downward plunge has left him seriously disabled. The narrator of "In the White Man's House," recalls a high school basketball game, torn by racial division, and the distress of his teenaged friend who strove to be "blacker." In "Losing It," a disgruntled angel tries to help a nurse control his outbursts of comic and fruitless anger. And in "Marching," an old white man, who now has great difficulty walking, remembers marching fifty miles with Martin Luther King Jr. Despite the hardships they experience, the characters in the collection find pleasure and solace in what this lovely planet has to offer. By turns playful and grave, told with humor and candor, these down-to-earth and heavenly stories will both surprise with fresh insight and remind the reader of what they already know.
Unblinking is a short story collection for any lover of contemporary fiction looking for that strong pulse of feeling.