Small and Heavy World by Ashley Pederson

by Katy Bowman

The folks at Algonquin published this short story on their blog as an excerpt from the latest edition of New Stories From the South.

I loved it for so many reasons, but most of all for the way it takes a slightly unbelievable situation – families living in trees after their neighborhood has been flooded – and makes it completely believable. The story is about so many things, though, and I was amazed by the way she was able to take a pretty standard coming-of-age story and make it something magical and special.

For me, it was really about that time in our lives when we’re first beginning to see that our parents have lives outside of us, their kids, that they are human and have faults and needs and desires just like everyone else. It is a complicated time for most kids and she captures it without glorifying it, without making it larger and more significant than it is.

After reading this sample, I’m excited to read the rest of the stories in this volume. I’m also excited to read more by Ms. Pederson. I’ll certainly be on the lookout.