Tag: Books: Short Stories

Review: Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage

Posted 5 November, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage
By: Alice Munro
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

In these stories lives come into focus through single events or sudden memories which bring the past bubbling to the surface. The past, as Alice Munro’s characters discover, is made up not only of what is remembered, but also what isn’t. The past is there, just out of the picture, but if memories haven’t been savoured, recalled in the mind and boxed away, it’s as if they have never been – until a moment when the pieces of the jigsaw re-form suddenly, sometimes pleasurably but more often painfully. Women look back at their young selves, at first marriages made when they were naive and trusting, at husbands and their difficult, demanding little ways. There is in this new collection an underlying heartbreak, a sense of regret in her characters for what might have been, for a fork in the road not taken, a memory suppressed in an act of prudent emotional housekeeping. But at the same time there is hope, there are second chances – here are people who reinvent themselves, seize life by the throat, who have moved on and can dare to conjure up the hidden memories, daring to go beyond what is remembered.

So I only got around to reading Alice Munro this year, having read Dear Life (review) around the beginning of summer. I meant to read her Selected Stories next, having bought it shortly after she won the Nobel Prize in Literature, but instead promptly picked up this book after learning that two stories in this volume became movies some time ago (Away from Her (trailer) and Hateship Loveship (trailer). And here we are 🙂

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Review: Gifts For the One Who Come After

Posted 17 October, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Gifts for the One Who Comes After
By: Helen Marshall
Format/Source: Won an eCopy via Twitter giveaway contest held by ChiZine Publications

Ghost thumbs. Microscopic dogs. One very sad can of tomato soup . . . Helen Marshall’s second collection offers a series of twisted surrealities that explore the legacies we pass on to our children. A son seeks to reconnect with his father through a telescope that sees into the past. A young girl discovers what lies on the other side of her mother’s belly button. Death’s wife prepares for a very special funeral. In Gifts for the One Who Comes After, Marshall delivers eighteen tales of love and loss that cement her as a powerful voice in dark fantasy and the New Weird. Dazzling, disturbing, and deeply moving.

I first heard of this author from an online interview I conducted with Robert Shearman a few years ago (review). Her first collection, Hair Side, Flesh Side was close to publication day, and her stories sounded intriguing and weird, in keeping with ChiZine Publications’ genre. It’s still on my wish-to-read list, but in the meantime I had the opportunity to read her latest collection thanks to the publishers via a Twitter giveaway contest they recently held…very timely too as Hallowe’en is around the corner and the stories in this collection are perfect for this time of year 😉

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Review: Wonders of the Invisible World

Posted 2 September, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Wonders of the Invisible World
By: Patricia A. McKillip
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Stylistically rooted in fairy tale and mythology, imperceptible landscapes are explored in these opulent stories from a beloved fantasy icon. There are princesses dancing with dead suitors, a knight in love with an official of exotic lineage, and fortune’s fool stealing into the present instead of the future. In one mesmerizing tale, a time-traveling angel is forbidden to intervene in Cotton Mather’s religious ravings, while another narrative finds a wizard seduced in his youth by the Faerie Queen and returning the treasure that is rightfully hers. Bewitching, bittersweet, and deeply intoxicating, this collection draws elements from the fables of history and re-creates them in startlingly magical ways.

I have been eyeing this Patricia A. McKillip book for so long, lol. There was something about the title, the book cover, that just really drew my attention. It’s also really cool because this book is actually a collection of some of her short stories; I really enjoy her books (see author tag) so it was interesting to check out what her short stories are like.

Wonders of the Invisible World is an eclectic mix of short stories from Patricia A. McKillip. They’re actually a little different from her usual novels and their settings; some of course are still set in those wonderful, ethereal settings, but other stories are set in our world with a touch of magic, and a few are more sci-fi than fantasy. The stories still contain that mystery and wonder that is distinctly McKillip’s, the wondrous wonders, even–as with any other short story collection I’ve read–of course there are some that are more interesting than others. Stories that stood out for me include “Wonders of the Invisible World,” “Out of the Woods” (probably my favourite from the lot), “Knight of the Well”, “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” (pretty spooky and reminds me of a lot of her other books) and “The Doorkeeper of Khaat.” The collection concludes with a speech that McKillip gave at WisCon in 2004 about where she draws her inspiration from.

Overall, this collection of short stories was an interesting read. It’s an opportunity to read and further explore McKillip’s imagination in different genres. Readers of her works and of the fantasy/sci-fi genre will want to check out this title.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Visit the author’s official website || Order this book from the Book Depository

Review: Dear Life

Posted 20 June, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Dear Life
By: Alice Munro
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

With her peerless ability to give us the essence of a life in often brief but spacious and timeless stories, Alice Munro illumines the moment a life is shaped — the moment a dream, or sex, or perhaps a simple twist of fate turns a person out of his or her accustomed path and into another way of being. Suffused with Munro’s clarity of vision and her unparalleled gift for storytelling, these stories (set in the world Munro has made her own: the countryside and towns around Lake Huron) about departures and beginnings, accidents, dangers, and homecomings both virtual and real, paint a vivid and lasting portrait of how strange, dangerous, and extraordinary the ordinary life can be.

My first Alice Munro book! I had long heard of her but never got around to reading anything by her (going back to my whole slow getting around to notable Canadian authors *foreheadsmack*). I was finally prompted to pick up her books (this and her Selected Stories) sooner when I learned that she won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature, which is a pretty big deal and a pretty proud moment for the country. And here we are.

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Review: The Yellow Wallpaper

Posted 9 June, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 10 Comments

The Yellow Wallpaper
By: Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Narrated with superb psychological skill and dramatic precision, it tells the story of a nameless woman driven mad by enforced confinement after the birth of her child. Isolated in a colonial mansion in the middle of nowhere, forced to sleep in an attic nursery with barred windows and sickly yellow wallpaper, secretly she does what she has to do—she writes. She craves intellectual stimulation, activity, and loving understanding, but instead she is ordered to her bedroom to rest and “pull herself together.” Here, slowly but surely, the tortuous pattern of the wallpaper winds its way into the recesses of her mind.

I actually first read this short story last year; I was looking for classic Gothic literature to read and this title came out. It was interesting enough; didn’t think too much about it. I decided to revisit it recently as part of Mental Health Awareness Month given the themes that this book touches on. This book is part of the A Year in Re-Reading: a 2014 Reading Challenge that I am participating in.

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