At the heart of Fruit of the Spirit, Greg Knowles’ debut collection of short stories, are the most basic of human characteristics – love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – characteristics fundamental to human existence and yet so difficult to cultivate and sustain within the human spirit.
A paranoiac brother suspicious of the intentions of his sister’s psychologist friends struggles to find love; a shell-shocked soldier newly returned from Iraq and struggling to adjust to city life finds not peace; and a dying teenager’s gift to her grief-stricken father alternates between giving joy and stealing it away.
A son whose life has become one of bitter frustration finds patience in the most unlikely of places; a teen struggling with the meaning of love finds kindness in an aunt shunned by the rest of her family, and a young woman, certain that her looks will provide all she requires in life, finds herself trapped between the ambiguous attentions of the perfect man and the virtuous goodness of the imperfect.
A life of disappointment for the father of a dying girl leaves him grasping and reveals the tenuous nature faith that is not thought through; a young man shunned by his peers and ridiculed by his father discovers success through the gentleness of an elderly Scottish woman; and a wayward son’s eagerness for riches over family proves that lack of self-control can lead down paths best avoided.
In nine wonderfully crafted stories, Greg Knowles shows that even the finest of virtues can have a dark side – but when properly applied, can salve the deepest of wounds.