Friday, March 13, 2015

Review: The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons by Heather A. Slomski

Short stories are hard. There is such a small window of words for them to shine. They have to capture the same truth a novel does in so many fewer pages, sometimes even just a page or two instead of hundreds. The best short stories can do this and make it look easy. Heather Slomski has a couple of gems in this well-written collection, The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons, but the collection, like so many collections, is a bit uneven.

The fifteen stories presented here vary wildly in length and they use different narrative techniques, including the very difficult to pull off second person narration, but each of them is pervaded by a sense of melancholy and loss. The two best stories bookend the collection (the eponymous The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons and Before the Story Ends). Many of the stories feel emotionally reserved, both in terms of the characters and the writing and some of them veer into the decidely odd, like Iris and the Inevitable Sorrow, or the Knock at the Door, which inexplicably ends in a surreal and strange Kafkaesque scenario. Most of the stories touch the everyday realities of love and relationship and the ways in which we lose a little of ourselves in the mundane reality of living. Often the stories peter out or just fade off, as do the relationships they chronicle. In the case of Correction, this is done masterfully and perfectly finishes the story. In other stories it is more frustrating than successful. Slomski's is definitely a good writer but some of the chances she took in this sometimes experimental collection make it a very mixed bag. The bones are there but there's still a bit of tarnish on these spoons.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I have had to disable the anonymous comment option to cut down on the spam and I apologize to those of you for whom this makes commenting a chore. I hope you'll still opt to leave me your thoughts. I love to hear what you think, especially so I know I'm not just whistling into the wind here at my computer.

Popular Posts