Dying Light and Other Stories
The collection of short stories by creative writing professor Donald Hays begins with a character in “The Rites of Love” observing that “Wasn’t for dying, wouldn’t be no living at all.” Throughout, the people he creates contend with lives gone awry and live with “the sweetness of regret.”
Novelist Ellen Gilchrist says that “Donald Hays takes us to meet people we want to know more about.” Dying Light, she says, is “a generous and compelling read, fresh and real and true.”
In the end, in the title story, a dying man tells his son that death is easy: “Nothing you can do about it. But you know, you got choices to make, one way or the other.”
The consequences of choices made or accepted mark the lives of these people. The stories are suffused with regret, sometimes bitter and vengeful. They are also relieved with moments of humor and lines like “Phoenix is what happens when there is no poetry.”
Several of the stories previously appeared in literary magazines such as The Southern Review and The Missouri Review. The title story, “Dying Light,” was selected for inclusion in New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best 2003.