A friend left this book behind when they returned home (on the other side of the planet). It has taken me a few years to get to it, which is a shame because I really enjoyed it.
Here’s the blurb …
Amy Bloom’s first collection of short stories takes the reader into the inner lives of characters who encounter the everyday mysteries of need and desire. They include a frightened father in need of redemption, a psychiatrist who oversteps professional boundaries and a small girl eager for love.
The stories are beautifully written, quirky with an old-fashioned feel.
I really enjoy Atwood’s novels – not so much her later post-apocalyptic works (although I did like them), but her other novels like Blind Assassin and Alias Grace. Anyway I always try to read her new work. This one is a series of short stories – some connected and some referring to earlier novels.
Here is the blurb …
A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband. An elderly lady with Charles Bonnet’s syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly-formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. A woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. And a crime committed long-ago is revenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion year old stromatalite.
In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood ventures into the shadowland earlier explored by fabulists and concoctors of dark yarns such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Daphne du Maurier and Arthur Conan Doyle – and also by herself, in her award-winning novel Alias Grace. In Stone Mattress, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.
I really enjoyed these stories and being short stories I could read one at a time to extend the pleasure of a new Atwood story. They have everything I like about Atwood’s works – brilliant prose (her choice of words is poetic), interesting characters and quirky plots (I mean a woman is mistaken for a vampire – although maybe she is one?).
When I heard there was a new Alice Munro collection, I just had to read it. Although it is not really new, it’s a new collection of existing stories.
Here is the blurb …
Spanning almost thirty years and settings that range from big cities to small towns and farmsteads of rural Canada, this magnificent collection brings together twenty-eight stories by a writer of unparalleled wit, generosity, and emotional power. In her Selected Stories, Alice Munro makes lives that seem small unfold until they are revealed to be as spacious as prairies and locates the moments of love and betrayal, desire and forgiveness, that change those lives forever. To read these stories–about a traveling salesman and his children on an impromptu journey; an abandoned woman choosing between seduction and solitude–is to succumb to the spell of a writer who enchants her readers utterly even as she restores them to their truest selves.
In this review, I said collecting stories with a similar theme lessons the impact of each story. However, this collection is an overview of Munro’s work – there are stories from several of her previous collection. I think this is a much better arrangement and if you could buy just one collection, I would recommend this one.
As always, these stories are beautifully written, insightful and character driven.