Crawling Between Heaven and Earth, by Sarah A. Hoyt

crawling-between-heaven-and-earth-by-sarah-a-hoyt coverGenre: Mixed Genre Anthology
Publisher: Dark Regions
Published: 2002
Reviewer Rating: four stars
Book Review by Lynn Nicole Louis

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In Crawling Between Heaven and Earth, Sarah A. Hoyt has presented us with a atmospheric and sentimental collection of stories. The primary theme that seems to run through most of the stories here (intentionally or not) is that of loss and the process of loss, coupled with the value of sacrifice. In these stories we see characters achieve, but at a cost. In the end they, or those around them, are changed.

Ask two people to write a story about the loss of love and you will get two very different things. What would make those stories unique is not the core idea the stories revolve around — loss of love — but the characters the authors chose to populate their stories with. Ms. Hoyt isn’t doing anything new or fancy. You won’t find fresh plots or astounding twist endings that you didn’t see coming. What you will find is good character driven fiction, sure to appeal to those who like stories about people, not about ideas and things.

In these well-done tales, we read about people dealing with loss of innocence, loss of love, loss of hope, loss of freedom and more. The result is somber and sometimes depressing examination of the human condition, of how hope springs eternal in some and is destroyed in others. About how there are those who resist and those who succumb. Personal responsibility often plays a central role.

Ms. Hoyt has a great feel for atmosphere and setting. She paints a vivid picture of time and place that correlates well to the characters she is weaving her tales around. Oftentimes, the place mimics the inner condition of the characters that story deals with. A deserted, dessert world, an ancient catacomb that leads to salvation or destruction, a hotel room from the past that holds more than memories….

Lest you think these stories are all Kleenex tales, Ms. Hoyt also has a few action pieces in here as well. In Ariadne’s Skein we have an enjoyable adventure about an artificial human who comes to grips with just more than her own complex feelings about being artificial. A well-done tale and one of my favorites. Songs is a ghost story, but not in the traditional sense. A subdued exploration of regret and loss, as well as redemption.

If you like stories that ask questions such as “What does it mean to be human?”, or deal with the concept of how our relationships with others define us, you find a comfortable and familiar home here.

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