There is a dreamlike quality to many of the stories in this new collection from Wayne Curtis. In Wild Apples, he returns to familiar themes of love and longing, and the push-pull emotions which inevitably accompany any attempt to break free of the ties that bind. Simple pleasures abound in these evocative stories, be it fishing on the river, gathering beans for an evening supper (are they beans or has-beens?), or listening to the jukebox at the local diner.
Curtis mines the shaft of everyday experiences, turning each one into a meditation on human nature. In the title story, an afternoon drive yields fertile ground as a father and son stop to shake down a gnarled crab apple tree for the sweet-sour orbs of autumn. With a seemingly effortless style, he casts his line into the river of the past, reeling in tales of youthful folly, the Christmastime birth of a little sister, and life on the Miramichi River, which could be any river, anywhere. Curtis also shares his insight into well-known friends, including novelist David Adams Richards and Yvon Durelle, the Fighting Fisherman. His contemplation of the life and work of Robert Frost casts a fresh light on the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet.