From the moment I began reading Michael Olin-Hitt's recent collection of short stories, Messiah Complex and Other Stories, I was immediately reminded of the moment I discovered the stories of Raymond Carver. There is an immediate comfort with the conversational rhythm of the story telling. I found myself listening to some of these characters like I listened to Holden Caulfield. These stories end pitch-perfectly. Our lives are comprised of loose ends, and Olin-Hitt's stories, while certainly take place in this tangle, are extracted in a near surgical manner, finishing in decisive moments. After reading this collection in one sitting, I recalled the words of Charles Lindbergh: "Life is a culmination of the past, an awareness of the present, as indication of a future beyond knowledge, the quality that gives a touch of divinity to matter," These stories, in the hands of other writers, might end muddied by too much mucking around from stirring up unnecessary details. These are quick, clear, crisp stories, which, in the masterful hands of Olin-Hittt, make you feel something. David Anthony Martin, Publisher, Middle Creek Publishing & Audio and author of Span and Deepening the Map "I was drawn into the story by Josh's kinetic voice and hooked by his spirited and smart digressions. But what really engaged me was the emotional complexity and the way the author carefully and subtly added so many layers. There's sadness and loss but it's met with optimism and empathy. And that's what ultimately won me over: it's bighearted and optimistic without being naive. "Struggle and beauty," says Miriam. "You don't get one without the other." That's what this story offers. Struggle and beauty and grace." Bryan Hurt, author of Everyone Wants to Be Ambassador to France and editor of Watchlist: 32 Stories by Persons of Interest. "I nudged another project aside, with the idea that I would take a quick peek at these stories. Hours later, I was still reading -- crying my way through much of the work. Michael Olin-Hitt is the Leonard Cohen of fiction. Read these stories. You will be transported, transformed, washed new. " Debra Leigh Scott, Founding Director of Hidden River Arts and author of Other Likely Stories.
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