A beautifully written collection of short stories from critically acclaimed Pacific Northwest writer Justin Bog, Hark explores the range of emotions surrounding the holidays. From melancholy to madness, loss and despair to hope and forgiveness, these six tales shimmer with feelings, some we’d rather stuff away, that Christmas can evoke.
Set in colorful locations around the United States, from Anacortes, Washington, to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Sun Valley, Idaho, each tale focuses on people who struggle to make good choices, learn lessons, and maybe even find peace during the holiday season.
There was something quite lovely about reading a collection of Christmas stories wholly unique to Christmas stories; they weren’t sickly sweet. Don’t get me wrong, I love the romantic, Scrooge redeeming, Wonderful Life, toy making stories that are so common this time of year. But that’s not all that Christmas is about and I think these stories keep in mind the vast number of people for whom Christmas is a complicated time.
There is a warmth in Justin Bog’s writing but, to me, it doesn’t come from a light, humourous tale but more from a desire to portray complicated relationships and feelings that are important to so many people at Christmas time. Each story is different, unique. Some are humourous, some are darker. All of them are a very lovely addition to my Christmas reading.