With winter not far around the corner, I’m reminded of the time I had the pleasure of being locked up in a snow storm for three days. It’s an odd time, where you instinctively feel like not having to commute to work is just like when you got out of school as a kid. You crack open a novel, ready to dive into the long story of it all. Then you realize you’re an adult and you can still work from home and life sucks. Rather than close the book on books for the duration, I pulled out a book of short stories that I received at a local book launch. Surely, I can dip my toe in and out for a single short story. In the case of Emilio Iasiello’s Why People Do What They Do, I did and I kept going back for more of them throughout the storm. This memory is fitting now that this collection, originally published in 2014, was recently re-released with a new publisher.
In my humble opinion, the best thing a short story can do is pull you in, make you feel, and complete that experience before you have to get back to the tasks of the day. You should be able to recommend that short story to your friends and know that they will feel the same. Each of the ten stories in Why People Do What They Do hit these marks.
Some of the stories generate the strong emotions and underlying meaning of small moments from a dinner conversation (“Just Us”) to a lovers’ quarrel (“Say Something”). Others impart truly haunting realizations from survivors experiencing the circumstances of death (“Pretty Things,” “Rain”). In all of the stories, though, I was transported, not to a different world, but to a part of myself I hadn’t visited in a long time or maybe not ever.
By Serendipity Marie