Come to Me: Amy Bloom
After reading Amy Bloom's debut collection I am now a committed fan. Character driven stories all set in the US. Loved how several stories connected together. Her psychiatric/mental health background shows through in the problems her characters have to deal with, but all the stories were absorbing. 'Sleep walking' touches on a very taboo subject and will haunt me for some time. For lovers of short stories I highly recommend this collection. (I'm now reading her second, 'A blind man can see how much I love you', and it's living up to expectation.)
I particularly enjoyed how Boyd experimented with form and structure in this collection. There are only a handful that follow a traditional narrative form and I liked that. He accurately captures the male voice in a time of mental, and usually mid-life, crisis, both with humanity and humour. There is a truly sinister story of spiritual possession, 'A Haunting', in this collection, which is a close rival to Penelope Lively's story: 'Revenant as typewriter'. A couple of these needed a second read from me due to their complexity, but they always improved on further reading. I'm determined to read more of Boyd's short stories and novels. The televised drama of his novel 'Any human heart' was heart-breaking and I really should get on and read the original book.
Only just started on this collection, but 3 stories in and I'm hooked on her voice and characters. Very accessible reading. Comedy and pathos knitted beautifully together. In one story ('Which is more than I can say about some people') a mother and daughter take a road trip to Ireland from the US, with the ultimate goal of kissing the Blarney stone and boosting the confidence of the daughter for public speaking. At times this is very funny, yet also achingly sad when Moore shows the truth behind their relationship.
There were, of course, other writers that I didn't fall for. All well respected short story writers, but they just didn't do it for me. I'm not going to tell you about them because we all have such varying tastes and I like to focus on the writing/stories I do enjoy.
I also have been reading 'off-piste' as it were and have discovered even more new great voices in the short story universe. More on them later ...