Life can be complicated. In fact, it can be obtuse, obscure and very difficult to define. That is, if you really want to define it. Life in its barest bones, its pure unadulterated form, can be earth shattering and very confusing. But life can also be very beautiful, sublime and even consoling.
There is a wide range of emotions in Catina Noble’s collection of short stories, “Vacancy at the Food Court”. From the opaque void of the unknown to the unrefined, raw state of mere existence, Catina explores the complicated aspects of life. In fact, even the title suggests that there is a void, an emptiness in a place, a food court, where one would not expect to be alone.
Like Alice Munro, Catina has develops an entire epic complexity that one would expect in a novel, in the few short pages of a short story. While simple images, like an empty table in a food court or a couple of chattering crows in an empty parking lot, might inspire the author with a story idea, it’s her ability to interrelate aspects of memory and reality to the point of creating undeniable tension that brings her stories alive. Her stories are subtle, seemingly trivial, but also pure and, at time, rather abstract. An intense read.