Sunday, August 24, 2008

Homeland and Other Stories

I finished this about two weeks ago and haven't taken it back to the library yet. Oops! But I wanted to have it on hand to blog about.
I've been a fan of Barbara Kingsolver since I got Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and was happy to hear that she had done some short stories. I really enjoyed this collection, though I'm worried I can't come up with anything more insightful than what's on the back of the book! Stories included in this collection are:
  • Homeland
  • Blueprints
  • Covered Bridges
  • Quality Time
  • Stone Dreams
  • Survival Zones
  • Islands on the Moon
  • Bereaved Apartments
  • Extinctions
  • Jump-up Day
  • Rose-Johnny
  • Why I Am a Danger to the Public

I like short stories in general because I love when an author can successfully establish characters, settings and tone in such an efficient format. None of the stories were plot-heavy; there isn't a lot happening, but they are well-written and compelling. I liked all of the stories because they include realistic, well-rounded, relatable characters. The girls and women in her stories don't have perfect lives, and in many cases, they are making hard life choices and enduring hardships in a way that has you quietly rooting for them as you read.

The stories I liked best were Homeland, which can't be described better than on the back of the book ("a child accepts the impossible responsibility of remembering her Cherokee great-grandmother's dying culture); Quality Time, a captured moment in time with a single mother and her precocious, mature young daughter, and Stone Dreams, where a discontent wife and mother, killing time with a lover, working up the will to define and pursue the live she really wants to live.

One of the next things I want to read is Kingsolver's book of essays... but first, I have to drop this off at the library!

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