T S Gray's Chautauqua combines quirky characters, southern superstition, and small town life together with the steamy undercurrents of a sexual cauldron. Unlike most story collections the characters who inhabit these pages wander in and out of each other's stories as background characters so that the reader has the impression of coming to know them gradually over the course of the book. This is not to say that there are no suprises, because the stories don't stop with the characters' public appearances. Pulling back the curtain on their private interactions, Ms Gray invites us to witness the intimate and erotic encounters that take place after dinner parties and in the neighbor's backyard.
The opening and title story Chautauqua features a Native American Shaman. Then, bringing the reader into contemporary life, the poignant Sarah sets the stage for the rest of the book when Sarah McClure runs out of gas in a place that feels like home. Most of the stories feature the kind of sexual encounters you would expect in a small town, married couples and heterosexual dating partners. But there are also scenes of a more adventurous sexual nature to interest the more adventurous reader.