Last Song of Antietam, is my first introduction to the work of Patrick J. Lambe. With a limited word count Lambe easily manages to create a full-fledged story complete with character development. That’s something you rarely get in the short story format.
Without giving away too much, this is a coming of age story of a family trying to build a life for themselves in the new West.
After their Mother dies giving birth to their youngest brother, the oldest children; twins, have to take over the parental roles with their battle worm, abusive Father to take care of the younger children, and also work the fields to try and make a living. They try to raise them right, even going to Church every Sunday, though their Father strictly prohibits it, and punishes them for it.
One day a preacher comes to their Church, says he’s impressed with their choir singing, and offers them a good living if they were to sing for him in his traveling show. Of course their Father won’t let them have anything to do with the preacher. The children then take things into their own hands.
After finishing this story, I felt that I knew the characters really well, and truly didn’t want the story to end. My mood changed several times while reading it. When I read the final paragraphs, it felt as if I had finished a novel, rather than a short story. My hat is off to Mr. Lambe for creating such a vivid story in such a small package. I would highly recommended reading this.