PositiveNew York Journal of BooksThe book contains a novella and six short stories. The stories are exciting on many levels, the novella is not.... But the novella has the feel of its characters walking through life, the precarious life of actors to be sure, but seemingly without real highs or lows. They might be anyone, cushioned ultimately by family money. And it doesn’t appear particularly relevant to the tale that Leonard is Chinese. The six short stories, on the other hand, pop with life and poetry .... The settings and situations that Wang creates are inventive without being unbelievable. He tells a story in a way that the reader wants to turn the page, care about the story’s characters, and awaken an emotional reaction at their fate.... Wang has the distinct skill of evoking time and place, many eras, many places, and putting his characters, and the reader in them. For this, for his erudition, for his poetic prose, readers of short fiction should search out any short story his writes.
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksBarry’s characters are painted in their smaller moments of yearning, hope and resignation, no one particularly announcing themselves ... Barry is an Irish writer, featuring mostly the country he lives in—and delightfully so—with even his written words carrying the lilt in the English language gifted to it by the Irish ... The most successful story in the collection is the title story because it marries Barry’s ability to created moods in the countryside to the moods of the characters ... Two of the 11 stories in the collection are something of off-notes ... This collection of stories is recommended for readers who prize beautiful prose and story moments that linger.
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksSusan Minot is an author well reputed for the purity and terseness of her prose exhibited over a career of more than three decades. Her latest book, a collection of ten stories is no exception ... Minot excels in description of people and places ... Two of the stories in the collection do not work as well as the others ... Minot has interesting messages tucked into her stories. Interior musings of the characters. Thoughts worth further thought ... The most satisfying stories in the collection are the longer ones ... In contrast to Lust and Other Stories in which most of the characters are young, glib, and not particularly thoughtful, the current collection of tales has greater resonance, the characters are older, have lived more, have more to say. As a result, the stories are a much more rewarding read.
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksThis is Shruti Swamy’s debut collection of stories. She is not a debut author. She writes with sureness and grace. Her writing is more poetry than prose. Swamy does not write the kind of short stories you are used to reading. Few feature a classic plot line or create memorable characters. Rather, the stories put you in a mood, leave you with a new feeling about the situations and people she has created. The stories are rewarding for the elegance and lilt of the writing. Swamy takes you on an easy, well-articulated rides set in India, Germany, and the United States. The collection contains several strong pieces ... Stories that do not follow a traditional plot structure are quite pleasurable for their language and descriptions ... The author blends the physical acts with emotional feeling in a most satisfying way ... Swamy can imbue simple acts like crying, walking, or taking a shower with a level of detail that creates a new understanding of it ... If you love words, the way they can be used to describe objects and actions, the ways they can be assembled for effect, buy A House Is a Body. You will be rewarded
MixedThe New York Journal of BooksYou will read in a flash and say, \'What was that?\' ... The theme of this collection: What twist is the author going to stick in her tale this time? Most of the stories do not cohere. They start one place and end up somewhere completely different. Many last paragraphs appear to have been lifted from another story ... The reader does not care what happens in many of the tales, even in tragedy ... The stories do not fail because of their length. Many authors, notably Lydia Davis, write short cryptic tales, say something interesting, make the reader care about the characters ... A reader of Scanlan’s work can understand why each story has been published in renowned journals. They are small hors d’oeuvres, they go down in a flash, some are ticklish, some are treacly, some are spicy, but few are memorable. To have 40 different pieces over the course of an evening is not the recipe for a delicious repast ... readers will relish the author’s unique observations, and there are many.
PositiveThe New York Journal of Books... a book to buy and keep, for readers of dark adventure and for fans of tightly crafted tales ... One of the traits of Percy’s work, and it is on display in this collection, is the attention to the details of various professions ... The stories in this collection are largely plot driven, with characters that will be less remembered than the tales they peopled, apart from the bear. You will remember him.