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From Merrimon Book Reviews
Something Hidden
Something Hidden Stories by Elaine Margolis
by Elaine Margolis

Imagination Inspiring

In a collection of thirteen short stories, some previously published in various magazines and journals and others never before released, SOMETHING HIDDEN brings together a wide range of tales to inspire the imagination.  Elaine Margolis turns her vision to the world of roller discos, construction sites, bars, bikers and surfers.  Interspersed in between tales of workers and workplaces, haunting tales of objects and supernatural legacies emphasize the themes that tie all the stories together ---  those things hidden beneath the surface that alienate or create richness in human relationships, those things hidden within objects or people that add a magical element to life itself.  Some of the more haunting stories have a light horror element (without the gore frequent in today's horror genre) as unexpected supernatural twists create eerie bonds between people and/or objects.  Other stories bring out the heroic qualities in everyday people or everyday moments.  And others leave a reader with a feeling of hope.

In "Two For One," through the eyes of a co-worker, Elaine Margolis tells an uplifting story of Kate O'Grady, a woman who tracks bloodlines of race horses.  "Intangibles" focuses on a construction workplace accident and the intangible
yet ever so present forces behind the scenes.  "Ynez at the Roller Dome Disco", a coming of age story, paints a slightly sad portrait of life at a roller disco through the eyes of the young Tod who watches the transformations in himself and his co-worker Ynez.  "The Fritz and Keri Show" tells the story of art, music and friendship and above all of alienation and intimacy.  Through an object, Mrs. Hammond discovers a new perspective on her family in "The Dragon Box".  In "A Biker's Requiem," a father sees a different side of his son previously unknown through his son's friends.  In "The Exchange," one of the most haunting tales of the collection, a friendship leads to unexpected consequences.  "Vibes" develops the themes of intimacy and alienation when two couples meet in a bar while Monday Night Football plays on the television.  In "Denizens," Elaine Margolis looks a Melrose Avenue and a woman's sexuality through the eyes of Mrs. Prescott as she goes into a shop to pick up an altered dress.  "The Charm" tells an eerie tale of Meg's childhood and the passing on of a legacy.  In "Something Hidden," a chance encounter with a mime in Paris leads a young artist to look deeper into her self and her fears.  "The Crystal Cafe" looks at the tougness of the streets, the generosity of spirit, and the transformations surrounding the history of a cafe.  "The Other Side of the Wave" is a perfect end to the collection with its beckoning and leave-taking, coincidence or perhaps something a little more.

Elaine Margolis writes in first and third person narratives, in each case choosing the best voice for each story.  Her almost conversational writing style, is fast-paced easy to read, drawing the reader into the characters or the conflict so well encapsulated within each story.  Don't let the simplicity of her style fool you --- each story is masterfully constructed.  Each story ends with a well-prepared twist that leaves the reader with the maximum effect without any unnecessary diversions. Elaine Margolis utilizes the short story form with perfection --- each story is tightly constructed, boiled down to its essential elements, and yet leaves the reader with powerful effect.  Whether it be an object or a human being that she describes, Elaine Margolis has a gift for bringing forth the hidden elements within the worlds she creates.  SOMETHING HIDDEN is the perfect choice for readers who want variety within a short story collection but also want a unifying vision between stories.  SOMETHING HIDDEN is just the right choice for those evenings when one has little time to read but craves a short story that will inspire the imagination. 

Publisher: Peppertree Press (March 2009)
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