Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mendocino Fire - Elizabeth Tallent

Mendocino Fire
This week, I'm partnering with TLC Book Tours to bring you a new book every day! They span a wide range of genre, so make sure to check back each day for a new review; you're bound to find something you'll enjoy.

Title: Mendocino Fire
Author: Elizabeth Tallent
Publication Date: 10/20/15
Pages: 272
How I Found It: TLC Book Tours
Date Completed: 10/7/15

Summary: A collection of short stories.

What I Thought: As I mentioned recently, short story anthologies have occupied a tenuous ground for me for many years. Lately, though, I have been willing to give them more of a shot and have been trying to realign my thinking about short stories.

Tallent's collection reminded me of the beauty of writing and the skill needed to capture characters without the benefit of hundreds of pages of dialogue and decisions. Her writing is absolutely beautiful, if a bit mired down at times by the theoretical. There isn't a lot of action, but this isn't that type of book. To truly enjoy Tallent's writing, you have to be willing to devote some of yourself to it. This is one of those books where you get back as much as you are willing to put in. Spend the time and energy truly absorbing her words, and you will find them rich and rewarding. Try to skim through for the action and the high points and you'll be left wanting. I can admit to using both, depending on the day I picked up the book. Experiencing such satisfaction on the days I gave the book my full attention makes me want to go back and read the stories which did not receive the same my first time through.

My favorite story was "The Wilderness," most likely because I found many moments in which I could relate to the female professor protagonist. She struggles with her students and wants to have Reader inscribed on her tombstone. It was short and poignant, qualities I quite enjoy in short stories.

Elizabeth Tallent
This collection is not for readers who are looking for a quick fix or something so pop in and out of. This book is for cold, rainy mornings curled up with a mug of tea and a blanket or for quiet evenings by the fire. Be willing to engage fully and Tallent will reward you for your efforts.

Quote I Loved: "Her students are devotees and tenders of machines. Some of the machines are tiny and some of the machines are big. Nobody wrote down the law that students must have a machine with them at all times, yet this law is rarely broken, and when it is, the breaker suffers from deprivation and anxiety. Machines are sometimes lost, sometimes damaged, and this loss, this damage, deranges existence until, mouseclick by mouseclick, chaos can be fended off with a new machine, existence regains harmony, interest, order, connectedness."

*To read other bloggers' thoughts on Mendocino Fire, check out the full tour schedule.*

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Some of the stories, not all
If You Liked This Try: Olive Kitteridge / Taking What I Like / Fortune Smiles

A Reduced Review: A very literary collection of short stories, for readers willing to devote the time to a deep reading of characters and their psyches. 

1 comment:

  1. I say it a lot but I really don't read short story collections often enough - they are truly engaging and often pack a solid emotional punch into just a few short pages.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!