Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling contains ten darkly funny short stories by Maura Stanton. Anything can happen in this swiftly narrated book, which provides glimpses of Gertrude Stein playing Ping-Pong with a GI in Paris during World War II, a famous contemporary writer giving a haircut in a bar in Eureka, California, and Katherine Mansfield struggling to write her final stories in Montana, Switzerland.
Stanton introduces the reader to other unforgettable characters, such as a girl with a clown phobia who falls in love with Joujou the clown, and a woman who thinks that her dead sister has written a very bad novel. The settings of Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling are as varied as the characters. A basket of steamed crabs might show up on a kitchen table in Baltimore; arctic air might freeze nose hairs in Minnesota; a blizzard might isolate a town in Nebraska; rain might cancel a rock concert in the Alps.
The characters in Stanton’s lively stories try to sort out their lives by telling stories or listening closely to the stories of other people. Two sisters interrogate each other about different versions of the party that changed their lives forever. A young woman entertains and shocks her friends in a café with a funny story about her first love affair. A landlady tries to reconstruct the life of a Sicilian immigrant whose ashes she finds in a trailer.
In capturing with wit and sensitivity the struggles of its characters to make sense of the many strange and ordinary occurrences of everyday life, Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling reminds us that we are all, in some sense, characters in many of life’s different stories.