In Shipwrecks and Other Stories, we read of men and women struggling in love and longing, adultery and addiction, between staying in a place and moving on, while trying to rediscover who they are. Characters in these tales haunt the fringes of their own lives shipwrecked in society as they seek identity, hoping to rescue themselves.
Shipwrecks is chock-full of rough lives and hard times, yet these stories are laced with hope and threaded through with moments of grace. With his intimate knowledge of the natural world, from the desert to the sea, Mathes creates vivid settings, sometimes malevolent, sometimes benign, but always a presence to be reckoned with. Like Stephen Crane and Raymond Carver before him, Mathes shines the harsh light of realism on the daily conflicts, large and small, that define his characters’ fears and desires and, often, determine their very survival.
Kim Barnes, author of In the Kingdom of Men, and In the Wilderness