The Mill by Mark West

November 12, 2011

Michael struggles to come to terms with the death of his wife. He has visions of her calling to him, inviting him to the beyond.

At the Bereaved Partners’ Group, he learns that he is not the only one left behind who can hear the departed beckon them… to the Mill.

Over the last twelve months I have rekindled my interested in reading short stories. I’ve been lucky enough to read some marvelous anthologies and some fantastic stand-alone work. I was first exposed to Mark’s writing when a read the anthology Ill at Ease. I thoroughly enjoyed his entry Come See My House In The Pretty Town. I recently got the opportunity to read another one of his short stories, The Mill.

It has always struck me that sadness and grief can be incredibly difficult emotions to convey in writing. When it is successful, however, it can produce work that is not only incredibly effective but also deeply moving. Personally I have only come across writing like this a few times in the past, I think I am going to have to include Mark West on this very short list.  The reader gets glimpses of the emotional turmoil that surrounds Michael at every turn. With the death of his wife he has been set adrift in his life and he is unsure how to move on.

As Michael’s fragile emotional state continues to unravel he is drawn to a derelict building on the outskirts of town. Does the Mill act as a doorway to his lost love or is he losing his mind?

The story’s conclusion ends on a bittersweet note that perfectly captures the overall tone of the piece. I was impressed that West’s writing manages to be both upliftingly happy and in the same moment breathtakingly sad.

The Mill is a short, poignant exploration of a man dealing with the devastating loss of his partner. The supernatural elements are subtly blended into the story, and never feel forced. West treats what could be difficult subject matter with a delicate, reverential touch and it shows. Subtle and affecting, this is a captivating read.

The Mill is published by Greyhart Press and is available now from the Amazon Kindle store.

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