There’s heartbreak and humor, magic and flawed humanity, disappointment and longing, charming wordplay and breathtaking literary craft, but no happy endings. Cheating husbands and boyfriends abound, as do unreliable fathers, disappointed girlfriends and deceived women stretching all the way back to Eve. Literally.
Tag: short stories
A review of The Taiga Syndrome by Cristina Rivera Garza
Throughout the text Garza challenges the readers memory of what came before in the text using the window, but also through the pervasive repeated “I remember(s)” that occur throughout the text. Each time a thing is remembered it is changed, slightly altered. Which begs the question, how is what we have read previously in the text altered through both the frame of our own remembrance of it and the continual recollections of the narrator?
A review of Almost Deadly, Almost Good by Alice Kaltman
Almost Deadly, Almost Good is a complex web of sins and virtues that presents a wider, more multidimensional world. The stories are fantastic melodrama and human emotion and demonstrate the nature of humanity in more than black and white terms.
A review of Bad Mothers, Bad Daughters by Maya Sonenberg
As the reader gets into the stories, the fairytale nature of their shortcomings likewise becomes clear, giving these stories an air of fable – not a moral lesson so much as an insight into human frailties and failings, both mothers and their offspring, merely two sides of the same coin; a parade of characters who come up short.
A review of A Longing for Impossible Things by David Borofka
Regardless of the failings of his narrators and assorted ne’er do well characters, these tales are told in a generous, recognizably human voice, marking Borofka as a writer in whose company you’ll find deep pleasure. Characters’ failings are both unflinchingly observed and held in tender, witty regard, even after a lifetime of screw ups. Most are wrestling with the gap between their modest youthful dreams and the limits imposed by adult realities.
A review of The Age of Fibs by Beth Spencer
It is always both true and fictive, and like dreams, pieced together from a grab-bag of images and turned into stories that reflect the themes being explored. The Age of Fibs picks up on this uncertainty beautifully and works with it, allowing for openness, complexity, and fragmentation, while still keeping the coherency of the story intact.
A review of If You’re Happy by Fiona Robertson
This short story collection by doctor/ writer Fiona Robertson, lures us into intimate scenarios where joy and its adversary– fear– are coterminous. From a lovelorn housewife caught in a literal storm and a lonely man in a housing estate, Robertson’s characters drip in pathos and multidimensionality within the tight confines of each story, leaving readers saying a reticent farewell, wondering after the characters, ambivalent about their predicaments.
A review of Bombay Hangovers by Rochelle Potkar
This meticulous nature of her research into each story marks her out from other writers. This is again evident in another beautiful story where a Parsi youth is obsessed with creating his own brand of perfume (Parfum). Rochelle goes into a heady mixture of the scents and perfumes employed. She even has a lab where the protagonist works to manufacture that one perfume that can be his own. Finally, instead of his wife, he finds solace in the arms of a maid whose function is merely to be like a springboard of scents.
A review of A Better Class of People by Robert Lopez
Here there is heartache and trauma and humanity. There is detachment and longing and grief. Maybe we need to expand the umbrella that covers a “better class” of people. Or maybe, our narrator is accurate when, early in the book, he asserts, “Everyone I know is horrible.”
A review of Shaky Town by Lou Mathews
In Shaky Town, Mathews expertly shows us how things work and why they break down, taking apart and putting back together a range of small, yet fully felt lives. His overlapping worlds are mapped in prose that shimmers like hammered copper. He knows this territory well: you don’t doubt that when a certain bug shrinks the leaves of a eugenia hedge, more of a morose neighbor’s sad guitar music will bleed through.