Like an ice cube sliding down a hot surface, melting as it goes along, This Place You Return to Is Home slowly leaves a trail of raw emotion and intricate beauty.A compilation of 11 short stories, Kristy Gunns book explores every aspect of sadness, despair and misery. Each story is more delicate and complex than the one before - beautiful on its own, but when joined with the rest, art.The first story begins with a mother taking her children away to the country, fleeing her modern life full of unnecessary objects.
The next story continues the narrative, watching as the mother holds her daughters captive in a small village while she goes on long walks. The girls have no friends and are not even enrolled in school. The only escape available comes through reading books from the local library.Not all of the stories involve women and children, although most do. Jesus, I Know That Guy is about a man whose has wreaked havoc on his life by drinking too much.
His friend tries to tell the man how alcohol has messed him up, making an example out of a girl who got away. The man acknowledges his problem, along with the loss of his ex-girlfriend. But he saw nothing but misery and monotony in a life with only one person. Still, he knows his life, now controlled by alcohol, is not what he wants it to be.The title story is extremely complex and vague, yet the main characters feelings jump off the page. A woman is reflecting on her childhood with her sister, born with developmental problems.
Her parents could not love the sister in the way she needed to be loved, but their grandmother had that capacity. While the sister could not speak like other children her age, and sometimes did seemingly inappropriate things, she had the ability to love. Yet, she was sent away, and the narrator never got to live a life with her sister the way she would have liked.Gunn has an incredible sense of peoples despair and misery. She comes up with an extraordinary number of settings and situations. Each one has insight and seems very real. It is Gunns grasp of peoples pain along, with her poetic writing, which makes her so incredible.