Publication Date: October 28, 2012
The author, Michel Sauret, gave me a copy of this book of short stories in exchange for my review.
The eponymous story deals with a drug addict fighting through the fog with flashes of meaning. She wants something, but what she wants it just out of reach. The story is a little different than you’d find in Christian literature delving into the idea that a desire to be right with oneself and those around us is at the core of our being. We may stray, but we don’t lose that innate need for connection and value the innocent and good in our life at all costs.
One of the stories I liked best was titled The Staring Game. A man feels that he’s playing God by staring at and judging people. He is called out on his conceit. Sauret says in his story, “Maybe that’s why so many people hate God or pretend He doesn’t exist,” I said. “We can’t stand the idea of being under His microscope.” (Kindle Editon 146). While the intent is made clear further in the story with the idea that God sees the worst of souls and being the ultimate judge is perhaps not as attractive a job as it might seem, what I took was the truth in the statement. As a child who grew up in religion, I had a strong sense of never being good enough. The hypercritical folks at church who stood in judgment in the name of God could have been the man on the street. The Staring Game is the only story with which I, as a reader, truly connected.
This was not a book that was going to be an organic match for Tammy Dewhirst. I grew up in a restrictive religion with overt messages and Sauret’s work reminded me much of the environment in which I was raised. I found the stories frequently preachy and somewhat condescending. I don’t think I am a good cross-section of what readers will experience in Amidst Traffic. For many, it will likely be a truly uplifting and inspiring experience.
The rest of the stories were weighted in language but overt in intent. The stories are very well written technically. Sauret is clearly a scholar and readers who need meaning, depth, and a higher message in their entertainment will devour the stories of Amidst Traffic.