Publication date: June 12, 2018
Writing: 4 Plot: 4 Character: 4
A set of 13 interlocking stories about individuals loosely coupled through L.A. real estate transactions. A wide variety of topics – a depressed musician in a pool, a house whose owner swears little men have moved in to do all the work, a phone sex worker who lands a gig as a nanny, surprising new loves, an old woman giving up her home – each story is a told from the perspective of a single person reflecting on some aspect of their life.
I’m not a short story fan in general, but I quickly warmed to these stories, especially as characters reappeared and were allowed to develop. I found the women to be written with more depth and perception than the men. The men are either scumbags or saints (plus one teenage boy trying to choose between the two). For me the collection got better as it went on – the first few stories were OK but by the time I got to the 4th or 5th story I was hooked and they just kept getting better and better. The last story was my favorite.
These are intimate portraits of individuals of all ages and backgrounds, and while not a novel with a clear narrative arc, characters do continually brush up against each other, sometimes with impact and sometimes not. A clear reminder that while each person is the center of their own story, those near by are busily starring in their own.
Great for fans of Ellen Gilchrist.