Tom Noyes’ Come by Here: A Novella and Stories is a remarkable collection of narrative voices, of recalcitrant and uncomfortable souls trying to talk into existence the lives they want. But life, these talkers learn, is a stubborn thing. The novella, a brilliant one-(wo)man-band of a fiction, is emblematic of the collection in how it stitches together the past and present to reveal the phony, the fraudulent, the lie, but also in how it dazzles with its compassion for its motley coming-together of characters, who, despite their mismanaged lives, find redemption in Noyes’ prose.
These accomplished stories braid environmental issues with emotional conflicts in a collection so polished I can only marvel at it. Wildly comic, sometimes serious, Noyes unmasks the lies people tell themselves, and the earth itself conspires to shake the foundations of the lives of these hapless but good men and women.