Saturday, June 30, 2012

Short Story Review: Cooper’s Hawk by Victor Banis

Reviewer: Alan Chin
Publisher: MLR Press, LLC (June 21, 2012)
Pages: 26

Four days after the death of his lover, Mike sits at his rural home grieving for Adam. Mike and Adam’s children flew in for the funeral, and they—two men and two women—do their best to comfort Mike, but there is no comfort for someone who has just lost their soul mate. Strangely enough, a Cooper’s hawk begins flying around the farm, bold as brass and seemingly unafraid of Mike. I say “strangely” because Adam’s last name was Cooper. The children believe Mike is loosing his marbles, associating the bird with his dead lover, but that bird leads Mike directly to the bank on the creek where Mike and Adam first made love. Coincidence? You be the judge.

This is a tale of a man dealing with great sorrow, yet it is a story of unlimited joy. Kahill Gibran once said: “When you're sorrowful, look in your heart, and you'll see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” Yes, the joy of this story came earlier, in the thirty or so years leading up to this tale. The reader catches the memory of a prodigious and honest love between two men.

Banis describes a love so real and so spot-on with such simple, straightforward language, that I found it mesmerizing. It is a beautiful story told with simple elegance, and so real that I realized that my husband and I would someday experience the same emotions, the same path—at least I hope so.

As with all Victor Banis’s works, I can highly recommend this story.

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