Friday, October 1, 2010

The long and short of a beautiful story

When is a short story not a short story? Do the characters have to continue chapter after chapter? But what if each chapter, even though the characters are the same, can be read as a standalone piece? What if stories are arranged by characters — three stories to a set — does the book still count as a book of shorts? But apart from the fact that I don’t quite know how to classify the book I’m about to recommend to you, it’s really good. Let’s dispense with classification for the moment. Let’s assume, that Where The God Of Love Hangs Out by Amy Bloom is a short story collection in the traditional sense.

The stories in the collection have been classified by characters. There’s a set called William And Clare and another called Lionel And Julia. And then, there are some throwaway stories, just tossed in there to even the balance. What sold this book to me was, in fact, the blurb. Okay, yes, I’m in the business, I should know better than to attach too much importance to a blurb-but this one was by Lionel Shriver, an author I am beginning to love, and what works for Lionel Shriver, I thought, picking up the book and adding it to the stack under my arm, should work for me. Do we often like to read what people we like to read, read?

Full review here Deccan Chronicle

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