Sometimes books of short tales are hard to share with people. Some people don’t like the format, and feel like they can be too literary or like a long joke, having to have a kind of punch line. It’s the same kind of thinking that keeps people away from short film as a format too. But it would be a shame to go past this book.
A series of 14 self-styled mini-novels, Vicky Grut manages to upset and invigorate the format. Here, we are quickly brought into the lives of others, with situations and people that we might know, and then taken for a ride that always goes to an unexpected and thought provoking place. “How easily things can go awry and take an unexpected turn,” states the press release. How very true.
In these stories, two people who remain after a company is down sized find themselves evolving a curious relationship. Travellers who stay with casual acquaintances find themselves woken in the middle of the night, and in danger. A woman visits her mother in law in hospital, knowing that time is short.
I loved the way these stories reminded me that life goes off in strange directions and is never what we expect. That can be wonderful, exciting, funny, tragic or dangerous, but it’s often hard to predict. Grut has a beautiful writing style. With simple, well chosen words, she conveys so much, never giving too much away. She is never flowery and often enigmatic.
I really enjoyed this work, and read it in one sitting. It’s no surprise that Vicky Grut’s work has been included in anthologies and won awards, and she’s certainly a name to look out for on store shelves. I highly recommend this book, even if you think you don’t normally enjoy anthologies or short stories. This is different and I think you’ll love it.
Read It If: you love stories that are thought provoking, clever and surprising. A really great book.