Today I welcome TLC Blog Tours to The Book Binder’s Daughter with a collection of short stories. You are welcome to read my review, learn a little about the author, enter the giveaway (US/Canada) and visit the other stops on the blog tour.
I like it when collections of short stories have a theme running throughout and this is definitely the case with Flings. In each story, the character or characters seem to be at a crossroads and are trying to determine what they should do with the next stage of their lives. In the first story, “Flings,” a group of friends have just graduated from college and all 6 of them are having a hard time figuring out what to do now that the structure and safety of college life is gone. They try different careers and relationships and it takes a while for each of them to settle into a comfortable place in life. I found the beginning of the story confusing as the author kept jumping from character to character and the verb tenses kept changing. But I realized that the confusion in the narrative mimicked the tumultuous circumstances in the characters’ lives.
In “Mike’s Song,” a middle-aged man is taking his two grown children to see a Phish concert. We learn as they are driving to the concert that the dad, whose name is Mike, cheated on his wife and as a result broke up their family. Mike is trying to navigate his new life without a wife and children around. He contemplates selling his house, he awkwardly sends texts to his inappropriately young girlfriend, and attempts to enjoy a Phish concert where he feels out of place. Will this stage in Mike’s life bring him any happiness or did he throw away his family for no good reason?
Seventy-two year old Carol finds herself alone for the first time in her life and is trying to figure out how to deal with the quiet. In this story, aptly named “Carol, Alone”, a widow looks back on her early life in New York where she was a teacher and married with two children. Carol’s life has always been busy and full of people and even when she and her husband Gerald move to Florida her son’s family moves near them as well. Now that Gerald has passed and her son is occupied with his own wife and children, Carol can’t quite figure out what to do everyday to make herself feel useful. To make matters worse, she is dealing with a serious bout of insomnia so she has to endure feeling alone day and night. The ending to this story is abrupt and clever. Of all the stories in the collection, I enjoyed this one the most.
One of my favorite ways to get to know an author is to read his or her short stories. Short stories are not a big time investment and if you decide that you like the stories, then you can move on to an author’s other, longer works. After reading Flings, I am definitely interested in exploring Justin Taylor’s other writing.
About The Author:
The Millions called “The Gospel of Anarchy” a “bold casserole of sensual encounter and deranged proclamation… Loudly, even rapturously, Taylor succeeds in making the clamoring passion of his characters real, their raw, mercurial yearning a cry for ‘a world newly established.’ In terms of acts of God, “The Gospel of Anarchy” is a tornado, tearing up the hill where rock ‘n roll and cult meet.”
The New York Times raved that “Everything Here Is The Best Thing Ever ” is a “spare, sharp book” which “documents a deep authority on the unavoidable confusion of being young, disaffected and human. … [T]he most affecting stories in … are as unpredictable as a careening drunk. They leave us with the heavy residue of an unsettling strangeness, and a new voice that readers — and writers, too — might be seeking out for decades to come.”
His stories have been published in many top literary journals, and his non-fiction has appeared in the New York Times, BookForum and The Believer, among other publications.
He lives in New York. To learn more about Justin visit his website: http://www.justindtaylor.net/.
The publisher and TLC tours are giving away one copy of Flings to someone in the US or Canada. All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell me you want to win! Giveaway ends 9/17 and the winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.
To see the complete list of stops on the Flings blog tour click on the TLC picture below:
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