Sunday, December 13, 2020

Six top dark stories with hopeful endings

Les Edgerton is the author of more than twenty books including the newly released Hard Times, as well as numerous short stories and screenplays.

At CrimeReads he tagged six favorite dark stories with hopeful endings, including:
The next novel appears to miss the mark for books that are dark throughout and then end with hope, but it doesn’t. It just appears to at first glance. In Willy Vlautin’s Don’t Skip Out on Me, Horace Hopper is a half-Paiute, half-Irish ranch hand who wants to be somebody. He’s spent most of his life on the ranch of his kindly guardians, Mr. and Mrs. Reese, herding sheep alone in the mountains. But while the Reeses treat him like a son, Horace can’t shake the shame he feels from being abandoned by his parents. He decides to leave the only loving home he’s known to prove his worth by training to become a boxer. It’s a stark landscape he faces and bit by bit, he’s beaten down, physically and emotionally. Near death, Mr. Reese finds him, broken and suicidal, completely defeated by life, and tries to get him to come home to his ranch where he grew up. He wants nothing to do with the man or his ranch—he tells him, “Every night I’m here I hope I get run over or stabbed or thrown in prison. That’s how I feel.” He’s given up all hope. Then, Mr. Reese tells him a little white lie. He tells him he has cancer (he doesn’t), and needs him to help him with his ranch. Horace agrees to this and for the first time in a long time has hope for himself and his future. On the way back to the ranch, lying in the bed of Mr. Reese’s pickup, he dies. But, he dies with hope for himself he hadn’t had in a long time. He just ran out of time.
Read about another title on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue