Author: Tara L. Masih
Genre: Fiction (Short Fiction / Caribbean / Domestic)
Publisher/Publication Date: Untreed Reads, February 2011
Source: The publisher.
Rating: Loved times loved equals loved infinity. Totally a top 10 of 2011.
Did I finish?: Yes, slowly, because I savored.
One-sentence summary: Seventeen sharp and well-written short stories
Reading Challenges: E-books
Do I like the cover?: Yes - it captures the quiet, meditative feel of many of the stories.
I'm reminded of...: Diane Ackerman, Penelope Lively, Sigrid Nunez
First line: That night, dawn light seeping into dark, Cap did not walk home from the No. 9 mine. - from 'Where the Dog Star Never Glows'
Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Buy -- especially because it's $4.99 as an ebook!
Why did I get this book?: An excerpt from the collection's first story just grabbed me -- not even half a page of text -- and I was desperate to read the rest.
Review: I am not a short story girl. (Embarrassing, but true.) I don't know why, but short fiction usually feels too abrupt for me, or a little too subtle-exploration-of-the-human-psyche, or too vignette-y. However, this collection of short stories has me completely reconsidering the genre.
Simply, the stories were great. Nothing super fancy in terms of plot or characterization, but at the end of each story, I just stopped so I could replay what I had read. Starting, I was sure I knew how the story would go -- and often, it proceed as I anticipated -- only way better than I ever imagined. My anticipation paid off in spades, over and over. I would finish a story and think, 'This one is my favorite,' only to read the next one and be astounded. Honestly, each story was divine -- unlike a chocolate sampler, this one had no misses -- and I've spent the last week walking around like an evangelist for short fiction. (But I did have a favorite, 'Delight', and I was wholly unsurprised to see it was nominated last year for a Pushcart Prize, because it was awesome.)
The stories take place around the world -- the US, the Caribbean, India -- and feature couples and families challenged by each other. Love, loyalty, devotion, perseverance, hope, and fear: big grandiose themes distilled down to lovely, well-written stories that seduce with the first sentence.
The publisher has generously offered one ebook copy (many formats avail) to one of my readers! Open to US and international readers! Please leave a comment with your email to be entered. Contest closes April 22. For another entry, please comment on my Q and A with Tara.