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Reviewed by Lorraine Cobcroft for Readers' Favorite
Across the Water by Phil Harvey is a collection of eleven contemporary short stories of varying length. Phil describes his stories as 'Tales of the Human Heart,' telling readers that they 'examine the pivotal moments when people touch something at their own core or at the core of their relationships with others.' An accomplished writer whose fiction has appeared in over a dozen literary magazines, Phil's professionalism and skill is on show in this polished, professionally-presented collection of thought-provoking tales on varying themes, all broadly related to alcohol and sex.
Some of the stories in Across the Water were too short for my taste, leaving me feeling there should be more to come. I prefer stories with a more defined beginning, middle and end. But I loved Roberta's River because Al Meeker was a man I'd once known and adored. Beena's Story was evocative, and Across the Water sang a song familiar to so many, describing the heartache of a couple torn apart by love and loyalties. I also really enjoyed Mort and House Guest.
The stories in Across the Water draw us deep into the lives of characters brilliantly portrayed and brought to life with unique, recognizable features and foibles. Phil Harvey's characters are people we've known and instantly recognize, with problems and emotions we relate to and understand. They leap off the page and call to us to love them, forgive their foibles, and understand their deepest hurts and desires. This excellent collection of stories will leave the reader to ponder deeply and want to read more by Phil Harvey.