The Ellie Dalton Affair
The Ellie Dalton Affair is a collection of previously published short stories by Billy McCoy, such as “The Glass Orangery,” “A Seducer in Love,” and others. “The Ellie Dalton Affair,” as the title story, sets the tone of the piece.
Ellie seeks refuge with her cousin and his wife during the dissolution of her marriage and disaster ensues. A young man follows his mother’s advice and marries a woman he doesn’t love, to the grief of all. An incarcerated woman deals with her handicap and imprisonment through spreading love. An ex-con confesses to a murder he didn’t commit to protect his dying mother. From betrayed housewives to split personality inmates, this compilation covers a range of stories, the uniting factor apparently being pain and suffering and emerging out the other side, for better or worse.
This book missed the mark with this reviewer. The book failed to resonate, and it was easy to get caught up in the overly telling, info dump-style narrative, get confused by the head-hopping among characters, and remain annoyed by the overreactions of the characters against their circumstances. While the scenarios were interesting, the prose was stilted and poorly constructed. In the right situation, it might be considered literary, but only with fixes to inconsistencies of tense and other grammatical errors. The characters themselves seemed to be illogical people descending into a spiraling abyss of poor decision-making and wrongful thinking patterns, resulting in violence, despair, and death. The violence and melodrama seemed purposeless, as did the religious themes, as there was never any resolution in the stories, other than misery and death. This might be an attempt at allegory, but there is no clear clue as to what that message would be, other than these characters have a lot of bad stuff happen.
This book requires a certain kind of reader, and those who do connect with it will likely love it. It shows women in tough situations bearing up despite their burdens and making the best of things, while mining the depths of the human heart. The scenarios are interesting and memorable, and the casual violence and suffering with themes of the divine are vaguely reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor’s southern gothic style. While these stories are unconnected, the author’s style remains consistent through them all, and readers of women’s fiction may find this to their liking.
|Page Count||384 pages|
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