Daphne Kalotay has created a collection of elegant stories that address the simple nuances of life, the instants of personal epiphany and recognition that make up the fabric of our lives over the years. From the time we are children, we begin gathering these perceptions from our daily encounters, those people we meet only briefly and those we know for a lifetime. Each fragment adds to the whole, the perceptions of reality that define our interactions with others.
These stories are about those introspective moments, the things that mostly pass unnoticed until the psyche cracks open and lets in the light: a time of pure love seen through the eyes of others; the tragic loss of someone who has yet to experience the richness and frailty of the world; the comprehension of some shameful deceit, promptly forgotten but seared on the soul; the spontaneous laughter between strangers who will never become friends, but share a moment of self-discovery.
Every life has its small moments, when the world opens wide for a split second and allows us to see inside. These sudden realizations strike and we save them, adding to a growing stock of understanding. In Calamity and Other Stories, Kalotay chronicles the essential good intentions of humanity in mundane trivia. The minor epiphanies register the larger meanings behind tedium and obligation, opportunities to see below the surface of others.
The title story, "Calamity," captures the spirit of the collection: an encounter with the quixotic nature of fate, touching gently on the vagaries of humanity. The sometimes recurring characters are frequently disappointed in life, shocked at how quickly things can go wrong, yet inherently hopeful. In fact, the simplicity of the prose speaks to this disappointment tempered with a vague optimism for the future. The randomness of everyday actions, the possibilities that lurk just around the corner and the subtle nuances of adaptability offer a sense of stability to these small, precise tales.