Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing
Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing:
by Lydia Peelle
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The eight stories in Lydia Peelle’s debut collection are remarkable for their clarity and precision. Set primarily in the dwindling forests and farmland surrounding Nashville, Tennessee, they concern the estrangement between modern life and nature, unsettling the reader’s hope for an easy reconciliation between the two.
The opening story, “Mule Killers,” involves the arrival of tractors at a family farm and the elimination of traditional animal labor. The tale is told in retrospect, when the narrator’s father is eighteen and still outgrowing his boyish love for Orphan Lad, a mule he rides to school bareback in the winter. Once there, “he’d jump down and slap the mule’s wide wonderful haunch, and the big animal would turn without hesitation and walk directly home to be harnessed and hitched for the
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