I’ve been such a naughty blogger. If you’ve followed my blog from the very start (and I know a few of you have) you’ll know that my blog started out as a book review blog. I’m a complete bookworm and I am always seen with my nose in a book. Since I’ve had the busiest summer of my life, I’ve not been able to pick up a novel and get into it properly. Which is bad news to say in less than a few weeks I’ll be getting the books for my third year of my English Literature degree, and will have to have read them all in a few weeks.
To ease myself into it I recently bought The Book of Other People, and anthology of short stories written by Colm Tóibín, Zadie Smith, Miranda July and many more great authors.
The whole concept of the book is that each author was given this task: create a character. No other limits were placed upon the authors and the result is something truly magical! I’m intending on doing a few short story reviews at a time, and then an overall summary – so I’ll save my complete thoughts on the book until then.
The Book of Other People #1 (Stories 1 – 3)
As can be expected with three different authors, the first three stories vary wildly in style. This is great as each story is a self contained storm in a teacup, which are in turn quickly resolved. This then allows you to dip your toes into another tale, and go through a completely different experience.
The first story – Judith Castle by David Mitchell
I really quite like Mitchell’s style of writing. His tale manages to get you inside a ‘fuddy duddy’ (I love that phrase) mind and yet still narrate from an outsider’s perspective. Not only does this illustrate his fantastic skill, but it makes for a really great read. As a reader you have substantially more intuition than the character, which I personally think is what makes the story so good.
The second story – Justin M. Damiano by Daniel Clowes
The great thing about this book is that you literally get all styles of story. This story is in the style of a comic book strip and follows the life of a film critic. Not much happens but it is visually pleasing, quick to read and is a nice break from the intensity of the character in the first story!
The third story – Frank by A.L.Kennedy
This story is different from the first two as it has more emotional depth to it. I found the character of Frank ridiculously helpless in the situation he lives in, and there is a strong development of apathy towards him. Like many short story styles, Clowes utilises the ‘reveal’ style ending, which ties the story nicely into a little package of heartache.
Which story do you think you’d like the best?