Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It is Maile Meloy’s new book of short stories. I found myself fascinated, riveted against my will, as the characters find their lives, against all odds, sliding to new lows.
I think the best story was the first one, “Travis, B.” in which a lonely ranch hand falls in love with a lawyer making an impossibly long drive twice a week across Montana to teach school law to teachers. He knows it’s impossible to have a relationship with her, but when a local replacement is unexpectedly found, he finds himself making that long, difficult, all-night drive across Montana just to see her one more time. She doesn’t ask to see him again, or ask him to stay, and he is disappointed, even though he would have had to say no. The cows and horses that depended on him were waiting for food and water.
The other stories were good, but the pathos either didn’t quite measure up to the first story or felt contrived.
Four out of five stars.