Author: Miriam Vaswani
Frontier is a gut wrenching narrative of elapsed time, haunted memories, lost chances and people, and hope. From the beginning, our narrator is an outspoken child, an enigma understood only by her brother and divorced from the world by the circumstances of rough living, specifically her debt-ridden, escape by night parents. And so it begins, this child with a foul mouth born from an adult world hoisted on her shoulders too early, a child that grows into a woman who still maneuvers in and around the world alone. Poignant and laced with melancholy, the story is segmented into brief portions of the narrator’s life, shifting through time, granting a front row view of instigating incidents and how, ultimately, they shape who she is including early bad choices, the shiftless tracks into beds of lovers never to be seen again, the death of the only person to understand her, and the pain of illness and age. Frontier is the story of life and those haunting moments, those subtle shifts, where everything changes. It’s a mosaic narrative and through it the story of our character, her very being, is lyrically and unforgettably built.
“Sometimes, I think we tell each other too much,” she remarks of her twin brother who, in her adult life, shares everything. It’s a line that stuck with me, followed me down corridors during the day and to my desk at work. The summation of closeness, and the dangerousness of it in reality. The lyricism of the writing builds beautiful pictures of horrible things and yet the blunt moments of life (sex, drugs, death, fear) come through in sharp edged language of the now. Mixed with the introspective quality and the literary elements (especially seen in the description of budding illness, of finding that precipice in life which separates us even from ourselves) makes this a unique, sometimes challenging, always provocative read.
Weighing in at an Amazon estimated 50 pages, Frontier straddles novella and short story. We know the character through action and aging and from the thoughts that she shares, or even the ones that she holds back, until the very end, which despite expectation, isn’t what is expected. Surprising, yes. Good, yes. Hopeful and yet needled with that razor edge of here-we-go-again worry. Yes.
An enjoyable and fast read, Frontier gets into your head and paints a mural of life with all its ups and downs, the snapshot of who we are at each stage and who we morph into overtime. Mostly, it’s a beautiful mosaic of scars.
— Frances Carden