Side Effects of Wanting

Mary Salisbury

Main Street Rag Publishing


Mary Salisbury’s short stories focus on human frailties in such an intimate manner it is almost as if the reader is observing, perhaps through a peephole, into her characters’ consciousness.

Her debut collection, “Side Effects of Wanting,” includes 16 short stories, spanning across different genders and ages. The narratives confront common everyday human issues — teen pregnancy, domestic violence, love affairs, new and broken friendships.

Salisbury’s sensibility, poetic language and effective use of dialogue guides readers intimately into her stories. In Irish Twins, for example, she writes, “Between our father’s temper and our mother’s depression, a fog filled our house, the way a priest releases incense with his censer.”

In another story, The Drop Off,” several couples are having wine and chatting after depositing their children at college.  One person says, “Remember us going to college?” As the evening proceeds, as secrets “bubbled-up,” tension and drama unfolds as they relate how they were “dropped off” at their dorm back in the 1970s.

Remembering Carlos is a heart-wrenching story by a a caregiver who assists in the final hours of a young man who fell off a ladder while picking apples. His wife, who only speaks Spanish, is told her husband is a “probable quadriplegic”.

Each story stands on its own. But if there was common seam in some of the stories it would be sports. Many of the characters play golf, love affairs begin at the country club, and there are also basketball coaches and players.

Mary Salisbury is obviously a listener who seizes the moment, and translates what she hears into a dramatic and appealing story.

Buy this book: Main Street Rag Publishing