Date read: 31 May 2017
Published by Grove Atlantic, September 2017
Verdict: Absolutely stunning short stories.
This is an absolutely stunning collection of short stories; brilliant, enlightening, poignant, and very very sad. The eight stories in this collection are all a wonder to read but some stories did not quite work for me. Maybe if the brilliant stories hadn’t been so fantastic I would have been more lenient; as it stands, this a near perfect collection – but not quite enough for 5 stars for me.
Josh Weil tells stories set in transitory moments – where something, often some invention, changes everything about a person’s life, for better or for worse. Be it the advent of electric light in a rural community in the middle of nowhere in the US or the invention of satelite mirrors that end night as we know it in exchange for never-ending light (and productivity).
There were two stories that particularly moved me and that once again showed me what a brilliant medium the short story can be:
“Long Bright Line” – about a woman who always feels observed and at the side line finding her calling and her destiny in her brilliant art. Weil manages to paint such vivid pictures of the art she creates that I felt a profound sadness at the fact that it doesn’t exist. Juxtaposed with the advent of air travel and the way women were left out, her story was an absolute wonder.
“The Point of Roughness” – about a husband whose relationship with his wife is forever changed when their adopted daughter turns out differently than he hoped. It is a story about love and loss and about unhealthy obsession and about how some people are unable to deal with change. This story made me reel with emotions and unable to look away. It is beyond stunning and one of the best pieces of writing I have read in my life.
The stories all had a profound effect on me. I adore the way Josh Weil makes his characters come alive in the few pages we get to spend with them and how every single one of them felt unique and real, even if exaggerated in their current situations. His language is vivid and unique and full to the brim with feeling and beauty and metaphor. I am beyond impressed with this book.
I received an arc of this book curtesy of NetGalley and Grove Atlantic in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for that!