Selma detests my small considerations of strangers. When she catches me nodding at the panhandlers she ignores, or opening doors for women I don't know, she says nothing, but holds herself tall and aloof. She is doing it for the both of us. She is compensating for what she believes is a weakness in her husband that, even in this day and age, a black man still cannot afford. And she may be right. But at this stage of my life I feel not so much black or male, middle-aged or well-to-do or professional, as incomplete. I am son to my father, father to my boys, husband to my unhappy wife, but somehow more lost than found in the mix.
A Place between Stations explores the lives of African American characters against the ever-present backdrop of race, but with the myriad complexities of individual minds and souls in the foreground.
Two college students, bound by an intense but uneasy friendship, take an increasingly dangerous road trip through Florida. A widow faces her doubts about her long-dead husband by reliving an odd series of train rides she took along the Hudson River shoreline in the 1950s. An angry, fatherless girl roams a city at night, searching for an escape from the ambiguities of childhood. George Mattie, loner and reluctant guide, leads a misfit nineteenth-century circus caravan on an ill-fated journey through the northern Connecticut woods. In A Place between Stations, Stephanie Allen enlarges contemporary notions of what African American lives can be. Varied, to the point, and beautifully composed, this collection will appeal to all audiences.