I was surprised that this had not been posted before and I am glad to correct this oversight of one of the greatest books from the Chicago school -- other members would be Carl Sandburg, Studs Turkel, Shel Silverstein, Steve Goodman, and Bob Gibson. (The first three are writers and the last three are musicians with the same views. Yes, one is in both groups.)
This is not a story in the traditional sense as the article from Wikipedia
Spoon River Anthology (1915), by Edgar Lee Masters, is a collection of unusual, short, free-form poems that collectively describe the life of the fictional small town of Spoon River, named after the real Spoon River that ran near Masters' hometown. The collection includes two hundred and twelve separate characters, all providing two-hundred forty-four soliloquies.
Each poem is an epitaph of a dead citizen, delivered by the dead themselves. They speak about the sorts of things one might expect. Some recite their histories and turning points, others make observations of life from the outside, and petty ones complain of the treatment of their graves, while few tell how they really died. Speaking without reason to lie or fear the consequences, they construct a picture of life in their town that is shorn of all facades. The interplay of various villagers — e.g. a bright and successful man crediting his parents for all he's accomplished, and an old woman weeping because he is secretly her illegitimate child — forms a gripping, if not pretty, whole.
The subject of afterlife receives only the occasional brief mention, and even those seem to be contradictory.
Some of the stories are short, less than a page. I have formatted the book the way I would like to see it with each entry starting on its own page. I feel it adds to the enjoyment of the book.
From the song Spoon River
sung by Bob Gibson:
All of our lives are entwined to begin with here in Spoon River.
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