Sandhill CountyùClay ReynoldsÆs Yoknapatawphaùis the setting for all nine stories in this collection. Reynolds sees his stories as reflective fragments, ôthe kind one notices when driving through a county in North Central Texasùold buildings and houses, each one concealing a story. I wonder about such places, who may have built them and what they looked like new. I think also about newer places, or places that have been converted from one thing to another, and I wonder about the people behind the windows and doors, what their stories truly are.
ôSometimes a sensation that wouldn't cause so much as a ripple in the city may roll like a tidal wave in a small town. But at the same time, individuals come and go, are born, grow up, live out their lives and die, sometimes with no one truly knowing who they are and where they came fromùno one ever privy to their hopes, dreams, triumphs, and disappointments. Too often they blend too easily into the backgrounds.
ôI hope that these stories illuminate them, make them more visible, and bring their lives to the fore by showing that within each is a personalized existence, one that may be funny or sad, poignant or nonsensical, but which always fits, somehow, into the greater chronicle of a single place. It takes all of them to make the place whole.ö
And just so, these gathered short stories make whole and illuminate the place that informs ReynoldsÆs Sandhill novels, from The Vigil and Agatite to his most recent, Threading the Needle.