Kio Stark

FOLLOW ME DOWN (2011)

It begins with an envelope. Twenty years old, maybe more, with the dust of the dead-letter office still clinging to the stained, fraying paper. It arrives in the mailbox of Lucy with the address of a vacant neighborhood lot barely legible on the front. Inside she finds only a photograph of a man she does not recognize, but whose face captivates her instantly. She hunts for him, feeling for blind answers in the boroughs of her soul and city. The details of her world — of a neighborhood decaying and maimed in daylight, yet pulsing with some hidden life in dark; the shaded, shifting menace of shadow on the night sidewalk — blur together through the fogged lens of her favorite plastic camera, and the casual banter of summer afternoons evaporates into the hiss of something missing, leading Lucy across the darkened city, from the canal slicing through her neighborhood over the rivers at the city limits, its mystery resolving into vivid, caustic focus in the book’s concluding scenes. Follow Me Down owns moments both wondrous in their sympathy and wild in their desolation, as Stark culls from the crumbling city setting characters mercurial and impassable, joyous and redemptive.

Rights: Red Lemonade, North America