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Stories Of Jane Gardam (2014)

by Jane Gardam(Favorite Author)
4.3 of 5 Votes: 3
1609451996 (ISBN13: 9781609451998)
Europa Editions
review 1: Having read Ms Gardam's Old Filth Trilogy I was anxious to read her collection of favorite short stories. I was not disappointed though astounded with the heft of the book--nearly thirty stories and over 400 pages. Usually I feel off-kilter and unsatisfied when I finish reading modern short story collections. I think that is because my introduction to the genre were the exquisite short stories of O. Henry and Guy De Maupassant. Nothing I have read since ever compares completely favorably, that is until now. And while a few of Gardam's stories (The Great, Grand, Soap-Water Kick, for instance) fell flat with me, I was entertained by the majority. My favorites were ones with characters from the Old Filth Trilogy, of course, as well as those involving other expats and their fo... moreibles. Another story, The Pangs of Love, was especially interesting because I was also reading The Female Eunuch's section entitled Love between stories. Ms Gardam's story was a much better, less shrill, depiction of the feminist viewpoint and much preferred. The Green Man left me scratching my head a bit, but only because I am not British and only vaguely know of the related folktales. However, that is my lack and not the author's. Jane Gardam states in the introduction that she was surprised when approached to assemble a book of her favorite short stories. She was unaware that many recently published books have been short story anthologies. Having read several of the latest collections published I feel Ms Gardam's are far superior and, for me, much more satisfying.
review 2: Far more of an edge than Alice Munro or Maeve Binchy, though they all are about ordinary folk in the small tucked-in places of England (or Ireland), or expat parts of the Empire, or even, Italy. British gentility and aging and elegant writing and real characters! Of course the re-told Mermaid of Hans Christian Andersen is sheer delight, and my fave quote is in there: "...she danced with all the mermen who had silver crowns on their heads and St Christophers round their necks, very trendy like the South of France..." Gardam's stories seldom end well, often badly, or sadly, and there is the distant shadow of monsters under the bed, of biting spirits with psychological claws, of age and gentility and loss and, often, sweetness. Love them all, always wanted to read more immediately, but found them best taken a little at a time, perhaps because the underlying drama in each took a spell to digest. There is a lot of sacrifice here, and a lot of going about unfazed by those who have the advantage. The characters and the places come alive on the page, one looks up at the end and is surprised not to find them all there in the room. less
Reviews (see all)
My favorite story was "The Great, Grand, Soap-Water Kick". Very clever and humorous.
Well-crafted stories, some a bit old fashioned.
Love the stories but I like her novels besat
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