Cate McGowan’s debut collection, True Places Never Are, winner of the 2014 Moon City Press Short Fiction Award and a finalist for the Lascaux Review 2015 Short Fiction Collection Contest, introduces us to an assortment of unforgettable characters who are on a voyage through loss and salvation.
McGowan’s book title borrows from Moby Dick: “It is not down in any map; true places never are.” And the characters who populate these stories venture into wondrous worlds as knotty and distressing as the locales they aim to leave or love: Blue, with his frenetic need to paint, yearns for a traveling woman, a possible mermaid who suffers from narcolepsy; Tara and David float between childhood and adult responsibility, intertwine in a languid swim on the cusp of. . . something; Violet Gray Witherspoon, with her name of nouns, spills yearning onto secret pages; Jebediah Rucker dances with sacrifice, then freedom. True Places is like a road trip full of surprises, where superheroes emerge in unlikely places, rats expose themselves in a prison yard, a crop of immigrant birds wings its way through clouds.
McGowan’s stories will pull you into the picture, close enough to taste the paint fresh on the canvas. Indeed, this book will take you to places you never dreamed you’d visit, but you won’t regret the journey. Fasten your seat belt for a memorable ride.