Saturday, March 28, 2009

Theft: Stories by N. S. Koenings

Loss is a universal concept that stretches across all ethnicity and walks of life among people. In her collection of five short stories, aptly called Theft, N. S. Koenings explores loss as it is perceived by her parade of varied and interesting characters. In Pearls to Swine, we read about an idealistic woman who, in essence, has her pride and self identity stolen when things don't pan out as she expects. 

Wondrous Strange takes us on a journey into the hope of other worlds, which may or may not rob us of our foothold into reality.

The title story, Theft, no only deals with material theft, but the theft of security and idealism. 

Sister for Shama is a strange but entrancing story of compassion and imagination. 

Lastly, Setting Up Shop quite effectively demonstrates how one can lose everything because of a desperate want of something out of reach.

The writing style is reminiscent of 19th century masters--delicate, beautifully intricate, and vibrantly descriptive. Koenings has an impressive grasp of the "feel" of other cultures and reveals those feelings to us in a wonderful way. I highly recommend this collection.

4 Blooms

Dislosure:  No compensation was given for this review.

Entertaining Disasters:a novel with recipes by Nancy Spiller

Don't be fooled by the title, Entertaining Disasters. This novel is not a superficial story about a foodie's faux pas hosting dinner parties, but a unique creation by the author to weave fiction into memoir. Through creating this memoir, the narrator, who is unnamed, carries the reader along the journey of her life. Paragraphs of the past are interwoven with the present preoccupation of preparing for a dinner party. We are allowed to see how the circumstances of the past, the pain of a mentally ill family member, the isolation from everyone but her dog and husband, and passion for cooking has molded and shaped the narrator into the obsessive, doubtful, fraudulent food writer she has become. But this isn't just a story of the past, but a tale of a woman who discovers the deeper meaning to life--life that she's avoided for over a decade. Spiller's unique method of storytelling lets us witness the food writer answer her own questions about love, life, perfection, and the importance of family

 4 blooms

Disclosure:  This book was given by Elle Magazine in exchange for a review.

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