Sunday, August 24, 2008

All in Together Girls: Artful Short Fiction

I'm a glutton. Instead of reading one story in All In Together Girls and then stopping to digest it before reading the next one, I'm reading them straight through, voraciously, without pausing to reflect on what's happened in any particular story. I should slow down, will slow down, and savor each one. They are quite engaging--stories about youth and self-discovery and relationships and all that good stuff. The author, Kate Sutherland, writes with an honest voice and doesn't sugarcoat emotions. She's also a law professor. That floors me! I'm reminded of Alexander McCall Smith, the very prolific author of over sixty books--he's also a law professor. (Is there a connection here? How do these two different types of writing--legal and creative--complement each other?)

Published as a collection of short fiction in 2007, All in Together Girls tells fourteen different stories and rapidly draws us into different worlds. Kate Sutherland brings the characters to life for us--children, teenagers, and adults--and we feel the pain and triumph of various human struggles. Short story writing is an extremely creative form of creative writing, which presents unique challenges to writers because of the length of the stories--everyone and everything needs to be "accelerated", in a sense. Kate Sutherland proves she's up to the challenge, and is on a par with women such as Doris Lessing, Alice Munro, and Eudora Welty. The cliché, "good things come in small packages" proves true here; through her short stories she paints memorable portraits of everyday people in All in Together Girls. You can sample two of her stories, Cool and Aerial View of a Dinner Party, on Kate's Book Blog.

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for an informative and helpful blog. I enjoy reading your insightful comments!

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  2. Heidi, thank you for your encouraging words. Please visit again!

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  3. I highly recommend "In The Driver's Seat" by Helen Simpson. This is a collection of newer short stories that are fluid and optimistic and beautifully written. I just took this book out of the library and loved reading it. It is a small book; to be savored. I want to read all of her books after indulging in this one!

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  4. When you find an author whose work you enjoy, it's great to read as much of their work as you can!

    I'll look for Helen Simpson's books.
    Thanks for your comment, Karenesque.

    ReplyDelete

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