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Finding Relief in Anne Kilfoyle’s Fiction

Magazine Review by Katy Haas

In the early days of lockdown, I had friends comment to me that they felt almost a sense of relief. Despite the tragedies reported in the news and the uncertainty of the new world we found ourselves in, they felt like they were able to breathe for the first time—to spend days resting or creating or getting personal work done or fully focusing on their families, none of which they were able to accomplish during the busyness of everyday life.

In the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of Salamander, Anne Kilfoyle’s story “Double-Yolked” reminded me of those conversations and feelings. As narrator Keera and her husband Jesse prepare for an emergency evacuation following an unnamed global threat, she reflects:

The last three days have been good days, some of the best. We have been holding our breath but also our problems got smaller. [ . . . ] Our biggest fear wasn’t mass annihilation, it was that we’d have to go back to how things were, back to our jobs and our lives [ . . . ].

Despite their lack of preparation, she feels okay with what’s coming to them, feels capable knowing they have each other, now somehow stronger together, as they move forward.

The short piece is relatable and timely: empty store shelves, last minute orders from Amazon in an attempt to ease the new worries, the uncertainty that surrounds them, and that strange relief of being released from normal life. It can be difficult to read disaster-themed writing while living through a similar situation, but Kilfoyle manages to cover the topic in a way that’s casual and comforting without adding to the current, similar stresses.

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