Monday, May 14, 2007

Book Review

Originally, I was going to review a book every month, but then I didn't remember to sort my book list by months, so that idea kinda went to hell. So now I figure that when a book knocks my socks off, I'll post a review here. So here's the first of (hopefully!) many book reviews:

Come to Me
Stories by Amy Bloom

Synopsis - "This stunning collection of stories - two of them honored by inclusion in Best American Short Stories in consecutive years - takes us into the inner worlds of families, the hidden corners of marriages and affairs and friendships, and introduces us to people whose lives are shaken and changed by love: a grieving mother in need of comfort; a frightened father in need of redemption; wives who become mistresses and regret it, or don't; a psychiatrist crashing through professional boundaries to provide for her husband and son; a model wife and mother who inexplicably descends to the basement to commune with the seventeenth-century poet Anne Finch; a young woman yielding to her dying husband's wish to hear about the affairs she's been having during his illness; a little girl who shyly models Furs by Klein, with Klein looking on in love and sorrow; Rose of the crystal-clear voice and psychotic episodes."

Now, it's rare that I like a collection of short stories. Usually, they're too short and just as I'm starting to like the characters, the story is over. Or the stories spend too much time developing the characters and nothing really happens in the story. Not these. Amy Bloom gets it just right. She gives you only a vignette into these characters and their lives, but in that you see their whole personalities and desires. Each story is complete and even though you don't know every detail of the life of each character, you know them completely. You see the whole and the scope of their lives from just the little snapshot you're given. Or you see them turn an important corner and know the pattern the rest of their life will take. Gorgeous stories, real, flawed characters, real-life situations and decisions. And just enough information and concern to make you remember the characters forever. I could not recommend this book more.

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