In RAIL WALKING and Other Stories, Pushcart-nominated writer Linda L. Dunlap invites readers into the lives of characters who struggle to stay hopeful in a troubled world even while the ground shifts precariously beneath their feet. Dunlap sets her debut collection in the South, but the theme of the stories, man’s battle with himself, and the issues with which the characters struggle, are universal. The guilt over an imperfect child, the disruption of a marriage by betrayal and old age, the moral dilemma of abortion, and the almighty task of loving the unlovable. Characters are treated with understanding, humor, and compassion. Good doesn’t always win out, and honorable people sometimes behave dishonorably. But the author's belief that everyone does their best even when their best is often petty and despicable makes the reader believe this, too. The glue that binds the stories together is the sense of hope the author instills in her characters. This hope is the gift that saves them from despair as they struggle with grace and dignity to make sense of their imperfect world.