Love in the Shadows of Mountains, by Tom Tolnay
Love in the Shadows of Mountains eavesdrops on the love lives of Adirondack residents and visitors, detailing what happens among lovers while camping, hiking, fishing, snowshoeing, canoeing, or merely getting from one day to the next. These short fictions are set throughout New York’s north country, including Cranberry Lake, Glens Falls, Gloversville, Inlet, Lake Placid, Northville, Old Forge, Otter Lake, Saranac Lake, Saratoga, Speculator, Tug Hill.
While the focus of these stories is on love between couples (married, engaged, unmarried, gay and straight), it also engages alternate manifestations of love: a young woman falls in love with the forest, an old man’s life-long love for a mountain, familial love, and love for things like a father’s ancient snowshoes, private ownership of guns, and children’s love for a dog.
Through well-meaning, if flawed characters—many of whom are locked into economic shortfalls, substance abuse, unstable employment, health issues—these stories collectively make the assumption that the rugged terrain in which these relationships take hold has unexpected, sometimes humorous, sometimes dark, sometimes life-altering consequences.
The lovers’ rough-cut entanglements stand in stark contrast to the simple natural splendors which surround Adirondackers—six million acres of forest encompassing hundreds of peaks, thousands of waterways, and too many miles of trails to follow in one lifetime; the disparity between the feral and human dominions lies at the heart of these stories.