For the most part, experimenting with short story collections has gone really well! Some of these were for review and some of them I picked up because they came highly recommended. Check out my thoughts…
I tried to imagine what it would be like if a perpetually optimistic, happy-go-lucky type of person read this. The only image I could summon was watching someone kick a puppy. This is a really gritty and raw look at the war and the effects it has on people, and I can only assume it is incredibly realistic. It certainly feels so. None of the stories end on what I’d call a happy note – some worse than others. All that being said, I loved reading it! I got pretty invested in almost every single story, both the language and characters made a pretty lasting impression on me. If this sounds at all like something you would be interested in, I highly recommend it!
This is the only collection that I didn’t really connect with. The stories and characters were all just okay for me – I didn’t dislike anything, but for the most part nothing really stuck out to me either. One exception – the writing. GOOD LORD YOU GUYS, THE WRITING. I already have another of McCracken’s books to pick up because of how much I loved the writing. If you’re the type of reader that values style above all else? You should probably kick the elderly out of the way if it means getting to the bookstore faster. Otherwise…maybe skip it.
“It was one of the reasons they belonged together: they were flea market people, put together out of odd parts.”
“She clutched a book in her hand in such a way that it looked like a knife she was prepared to use on herself…”
I enjoyed every story in this collection, but the title story was far and away my favorite. The Ballad of the Sad Cafe was touching and weird and sad and lonely and hopeful and ALL THE THINGS! This was my first exposure to Carson McCullers, but it will absolutely not be my last. If you like reading historical stories set in the rural South, this should be a must-read on your list.
I love reading books – both fiction and nonfiction – set in India, so it’s a little bit of a crime I haven’t picked up Jhumpa Lahiri sooner. These stories, set in both India and in the United States, all have something memorable about them. Whether the narrators are young or old, men or women – they have all stuck with me ever since I finished reading. Some of the characters face the same problems everyone in the world faces, some of them face problems slightly more specific to their home country of India. Regardless, all the stories celebrate and underline humanity in the best and worst ways and I absolutely can’t wait to pick up my next book by Lahiri!