The Soul Keeps the Body Up by Amity Gaige


My first thought was that it was an interesting surprise. After the first few sentences, I had assumed that the story would be from the perspective of a recently divorced woman. However, the story is told from the perspective of a recently divorced father. A refreshing surprise.

The story immediately gave me the gut feeling as though this would be an unhappy story, that may even end in an unpleasant sort of way. It wasn’t until I read through it again that I found the subtle hints here and there (foreshadowing) of what the outcome of the story might be. For instance, I asked… why was our character (father) required to have supervised visits with his daughter.

There are several examples of visual imagery that really appealed to me. For instance, on page 7, Gaige writes about the father-in-law resuming his pursuit in his vehicle, “like a zombie who staggers forward with his head blown off.” It painted a very graphic image for me, but it also gave me some insight as to how the father viewed his former father-in-law–mindlessly and mercilessly pursuing him, representing a threat to him. There was a more pleasant use of imagery about driving alongside a lake: “…Lake George constant alongside, the moon skipping through the branches.” This image is much more playful, though it also brought to mind the image of a child, careless and care-free. The final image that immediately changed the tone of the story for me was when the father was placing his daughter, Meadow, in the trunk. Gaige refers to the “taillights of the idling car lit the grass, the road, and my own body doused with red.” This image confirmed my growing dislike for the character, disintegrating any sympathy I may have garnered for him previously.

All in all, it was a worthwhile read. I can’t claim that it is a favorite of mine, but I’m glad that I was introduced to this piece.


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