This book is a collection of 20 short stories. I will review the ones that stand out to me and think I should share:
I have never read a book of a collection of short stories, and am hoping that I will be able for find a thread that links all of the stories together.
I really enjoyed this story because it featured a subtle love story underlining the everyday hustle and bustle, pausing for one another. It follows Paige, who’s husband was killed in the US army, the owner of a nail salon, to whom people confessed their sins and unburdened their worries, and the love of Bobby’s life. Bobby lives in an apartment across the road from the nail salon. One day, he plucks up the courage to ask her for a pedicure, but can Paige move on from the death of her love?
5. Her Cousin Jamie
In this story, Barbra and Fern-two friends-meet up and a lady walks past them as they are talking. This happens to be Fern’s cousin, Jamie, who is the most prudent woman you will ever hear of. For the first time in the friendship, Fern, whom is usually the one who quietly listens, tells a story. The story of her cousin Jamie. Whom, in her young adult years, had had a relationship ending catastrophically. As you read, you see the effects of what has happened, and whom it has affected.
I found this story really interesting and compelling, as it was set in one small, cozy antique shop- yet it told the story of those who entered it. Rennie, known for discretion and restraint, is not only the owner of this small shop, but also an occasional counsellor to many, chosen to do so as it is her golden rule to never give advice- it is not her role. One day, Oephelia Vogelsang comes in with a bronze statue names Puck, and this story follows Rennie’s experience in her own little shop as people admire the strange antique. Then a realisation hits Rennie and Ophelia, and the golden rule is broken. Advice is given. And she discovers the fragility of love.
9. What the Ax Forgets the Tree Remembers
This story was really captivating. Gabrielle is a part of the Society Against Female Mutilation, and she was expecting Selene to testify, having agreed to share her horrific experience. However, when Selene falls ill, her friend Minata steps in. Although she has had the same torturous experience, will she present an equally compelling case? Does she feel the same way about it? Gabrielle is anxious about this. Unexpected things occurring, she realises that while some speak out against what has happened to them, others simply try to move along, and make the best of a bad situation.
I really enjoyed this story because the message of it was clearly stated at the end of it, and it was written in such a way that it made me empathise with the characters. It follows an unnamed first person narrator, whom describes the experience of others and herself in trying to avoid their somewhat-of-an-oddball neighbour on the property. Daphna is always making unwelcome visits to her “friends” and inviting them to dinner, everyone is too polite to say “no”, but no-one every accepts this well-intentioned offer. A few awkward conversations are described, where Daphna invites herself in and gives a reel of speech, not giving anyone time to cut her off, until at the end of the book her husband accepts job in Jerusalem and they move out. Following this, the neighbours get together and happen to discuss how they feel about the loss of their crazy neighbour. I think this story powerfully showed that people do not value other people enough, and when one tries to matter, they get shunned. I do not think society should be this way, however I do believe that it is reflective of the modern world.
Note: I did not complete this book, and would only recommend it as an on-and-off book, as some of the stories really did not interest me and I found that I struggled through it. Despite some stories (such as the ones I have reviewed above) being captivating, the rest were not. (In my opinion.)
Let me know if you think differently, I’m open to other views 🙂