Awayland: Stories by Ramona Ausubel
(Riverhead Books, 2018, 224 pages)
I loved this collection of short stories and am definitely an Ausubel fan. I don’t even know how best to attempt to summarize them other than that I *so* enjoyed reading this book.
Some blurbs from Amazon:
“Excellent and peculiar… Ausubel’s imagination…wants to offer consolation for how ghastly things can get, a type of healing that only reading can provide. All 11 of these stories are deeply involving.” –New York Times Book Review
“Funny, endearing short stories…Each tale looks to the future in its own particular, touching way.” –Harper’s Bazaar
An inventive story collection that spans the globe as it explores love, childhood, and parenthood with an electric mix of humor and emotion.
I’ll certainly be reading more of her work 🙂
Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh
(Penguin, 2017, 294 pages)
I was fortunate to see David Sedaris give a reading recently and one of the things he regularly does when he “performs” is highlight an author whose work he is enjoying. He did a spotlight on Homesick for Another World and the way he talked about it will undoubtedly lend itself to a boost in sales, especially for the audiobook (which he raved about). My reading of the stories was basically all dark, but Sedaris talked about the humor in the darkness and I honestly didn’t pick up on that while I was reading. When HE read a passage, however, you couldn’t help but laugh… I might need to revisit the stories with that type of reading in mind.
A talented writer, if you’re looking for a dark collection of short stories, Moshfegh delivers. I’m actually interested in reading her novel, Eileen, which was nominated for a number of awards when it was published. We’ll see when that moves up on my “to-read” list 🙂
What is Not Yours is Not Yours: Stories by Helen Oyeyemi
(Riverhead Books, 2016, 325 pages)
I wanted to give this collection of short stories a chance since so many praise Oyeyemi’s writing. There’s no question she’s a talented writer, but as with Boy, Snow, Bird, I came away feeling like I didn’t appreciate the book anywhere near as much as the critics did. Oyeyemi is young and she has an authentic voice in her writing, there is a dark, mystical quality to her work.
What is Not Yours is Not Years is comprised of nine stories, all of which feature a key or lock which loosely connects them. Rather than me attempting to characterize her work, I’ll point you to two reviews, one from the New York Times and the other from NPR. You’ll see, pretty quickly, that this book was clearly appreciated.
I’m not saying I won’t read more of her work because I know that I will. Her way with words keeps me wanting to explore her writing… I’ll probably turn to Mr. Fox next, one of the New York Times 100 Notable Books in 2011.
If you haven’t read any Oyeyemi and you appreciate thoughtful, unique literary fiction I’d encourage you to pick up one of her books.
Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez
(Hogarth, 2017, 202 pages)
Unsettling, dark terror; no conclusions.
Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez; translated by Megan McDowell
(Hogarth Press, 2017, 208 pages)
This was one of our Between the Covers book club titles and it was dark. This isn’t my typical read and it was hard for me to get through. Whenever I picked it up I wanted to keep reading but since my most of my reading time happens right before bed I had to keep setting this aside so I wouldn’t go to bed with too many dark thoughts floating around.
Even though the stories are disturbing this was a beautifully written book. In spite of the subject matter I still wanted to keep reading to see where Enríquez was going to take me. The story that freaked me out the most was “The Neighbor’s Courtyard.” I had a hard time going to sleep after that. I don’t really know what else to say, this was a great collection of short stories from an author I’m glad I got to experience. Whether or not short stories are your thing, if you appreciate dark and haunting tales this hits those notes repeatedly. Now I need a good romance novel… 😉
Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?: Stories by Kathleen Collins
(Ecco, 2017, 175 pages)
Short stories you’ll reflect on.
American Housewife by Helen Ellis
(Doubleday, 2016, 185 pages)
Dark, humorous tales of housewives.