People in various stages of infidelity populate the short stories collected in Katherine Heiny’s Single, Carefree, Mellow. Heiny’s storytelling doesn’t look at the moment an affair begins or when it ends but instead delves into various characters (both men and women) at different points of being unfaithful.
One woman finds herself contemplating the end of a relationship in relation to the death of a beloved pet. Another finds herself being cheating partner finding someone new and becoming more interesting in pursuing that relationship than in continuing their affair.
It would be tempting to make all of these cheating men and women seem like villains, but Heiny’s strength comes from making us not only understand these people but also relate to them. These aren’t cheating spouses and lovers who are doing so merely out of boredom. There are complex and justified (at least to the cheater) reasons for doing what they’re doing.
Each story is told with a confident voice. From doing a bit of research into Heiny, I’ve discovered that this collection was a long time coming from those who discovered her years ago. I can only hope that her next collection or offering won’t take as long to hit shelves because Single, Carefree, Mellow has made me a fan and I’m curious to see what she’ll offer next.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.