Home Recommended Reading Workshops About RSS

Posts Tagged ‘short story’

STONE MATTRESS: Nine Tales ~Margaret Atwood

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

I discovered that I could pre-order this book a full month before it would appear on shelves at the library or bookstore, I did just that.  I just felt hungry for the incredible writing of Atwood and as though I had been fasting and not indulging for a very long time.   I was not disappointed in the least.   I have already read the tales twice and will come back again to enjoy.

“A collection of highly imaginative short pieces that speak to our times with deadly accuracy. Vintage Atwood creativity, intelligence, and humor: think Alias Grace.” (From Amazon’s page)

There is a creative psychological component to Atwood’s writing which just holds me to her words and the play she gives them.  The first three stories are loosely connected by an early on romance and Alphinland, Revenant, and Dark Lady play with growing old, loss of a partner, and the choices made early on in a life returning to be studied as the body can no longer comply.  Ice and snow and winter are big themes as is escape and control.

Lusus Naturae is about a child born with a defect and how she learns to cope with her situation; is it really coping or more the hiding mode? What society fears?  As a man is “kicked out” of his relationship he purchases a storage unit at an auction and is amazed to discover its contents and the preserved relationship within its walls.    I Dream of Zenia with the Bright Red Teeth and The Dead Hand Loves You are again exploring the writer’s world and where it has taken the author  or the character and then brought them back with some kind of protection or blindness to deal with the reality of the moment.

Stone Mattress brought revenge on an artic discovery cruise for a horrible crime perpetrated on a young girl, which radically changed her life and future.  The writing was precise, cold and successful; a bit chilling for the reader.   Torching the Dusties is about a woman with Macular Degeneration who can only see the periphery of her world, she is living in a senior center that is now under siege by a group calling themselves “Our Turn” and burning down home care buildings and the residents living there.   Once again the theme is about growing old and coping, worth and vision, and adversity and control.   Fascinating story and I am so glad I read it a second time.

The political climate of the day is so subtle and yet shouts of what we do not hear clearly within all the noise around us in our world.

I am very fond of Margaret Atwood as a writer and she is so prolific I can honestly say I have not read all of her work or even come close – just the highlights.  I am very fond of short stories and combining that fondness with this author’s tremendous skill was a gift to my experience.   I could not put this book down and just enjoyed it cover to cover several times.   I rate this highly and humbly top of the line and believe my readers would not be disappointed and instead relish this book –  STONE MATRESS

From the book:

“MARGARET ATWOOD, whose work has been published in over thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays.  In addition to THE HANDMADE’S TALE, her novels include CAT’S EYE, shortlisted for the Booker Prize; ALIAS GRACE, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; THE BLIND ASSASSIN, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; and her most recent, ORYX AND CRAKE, shortlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize.  She lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.”

Our Love Could Light the World
Olive Kitteridge 
The Boys in the Boat
The Signature of All Things

Our Love Could Light the World ~Anne Leigh Parrish

Monday, June 10th, 2013

I finished reading this book with a longing for more and then a hearty laugh.  OUR LOVE COULD LIGHT THE WORLD is a delightful group of short stories all about one family.  I am sure you know this family the Dugan’s, because there is a family like this in your neighborhood.  You know the one with 5 children; never do any yard work or house maintenance and their dog and cat poohs in your yard!

OUR LOVE COULD LIGHT THE WORLD is not a knee slapping kind of humor, although I did a few very discreet chuckles along the way which were matched with a deeper tad of sorrow page by page.  Just about nothing went quite right for this family as each story unfolds a part of their lives and realities.

I could spell out the characters for you, but I just think you would prefer I did not, as each person has their own chapter and problem to overcome and explore.   The characters are all stuck in Dunstan, New York and cannot seem to see further then their own experience.  The children take care of themselves and most of the time dear old dad too.  Mom does it all, including work, until she leaves and takes the children into a moneyed environment, in which they all, including Dad find benefit.

Aunt Patty is the only one to escape but then again not for long, as she must repeatedly return from Montana to pull the family into a semblance of organized and functional.  She has an undaunted spirit and a bit of plan for everyone along the way, and most often does the right thing for the right person, though maybe not always intentionally.

Anne Leigh Parrish, the author, in the handout is described as being a person who LOVES to write and it does show in this delightful book.  I found a precision in her words and a connection between the stories which was tight, full and precise.  I got to do my own visualizations, when the individual’s story presented, I found what I had imagined from the words to hold true to form in the chapter.  Parish has won an amazing number of writing awards and hails from New York, Colorado; presently Seattle. Her style is being compared to a number of the Best Seller Writers, and yet none of them have such quirky, realistic characters and none of those books made me feel like this was the family down the street.

The Dugan’s have a very strange way of expressing it, but this book is a true love story and I can only hope that my actual neighbors have at least some of their loving spirit behind all the swearing and I am sure alcohol consumption.
The reader will find a heartfelt, chuckling, calamity filled experience in OUR LOVE COULD LIGHT THE WORLD.

tlc logo Once again I want to say thank you to TLC online book tours and the Anne Leigh Parrish for sending me an early copy.  The e-reader copy is only $4.99 and the paperback is just $8.99 so the author is giving the reader quite a deal on this one.   A Kindle copy will be given away to a good comment.

Put this one on your list, you will be very happy that you did.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site, I will receive a few daisies in my basket.  Thank you.  Donations also welcome.

Related Reading:
What the Zhang Boys Know
Olive Kitteridge
Half As Happy Stories
In The Garden of Stone