REVIEW: “The Stories We Tell to Sleep At Night” by Anna Yeatts

Review of Anna Yeatts, “The Stories We Tell to Sleep At Night”, in Abandoned Places, edited by George R. Galuschak and Chris Cornell (Shohola Press, 2018): 199-211 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

Content warning: Contains oblique references to sexual assault.

John Clive Owens has been offered the chance of a journalist’s lifetime. The divorce of Frank and Cecile Cooper is “as high-profile as they come in Atlanta’s social circle” (p. 199) — not just because of the divorce but because two years into litigation, Cecile disappeared. So when Owens gets a letter purporting to be from her, ready to tell her story, he cannot say no.

He cannot say no when he arrives in the middle of nowhere and Cecile takes away all his tech, his cell phone, even his glasses.

She knows too much. Against Owens, that knowledge is her power over him; but against her ex-husband, no knowledge would be enough to free her from his power. The story she relates is a horrible one of deceit, manipulation, assault, gaslighting, and outright lies — a story all the more horrible because every woman reading Cecile recount her experience either has or knows someone who has had similar experiences.

But Cecile’s story is not the one that Owens needs to tell…