I am very pleased to welcome TLC Book tours back to The Book Binder’s Daughter today with a collection of short stories by Diane Cook. I invite you to read my review, learn a little about the author and visit some of the other stops on the tour.
Man V. Nature is an eclectic group of stories and each one has a bizarre or unexpected twist. The story “Moving On” begins with a widow packing up her house because her husband has just died and she is beginning a new phase in her life. But the twist in this story is that the government has set up a women’s shelter for widows who wait there until they are chosen by a new man to remarry. The women in the shelter have a bit of a feeling like animals in a shelter who are waiting to be rescued and find their forever homes. The widow in the story is chosen by a man after 8 months, which, she is told, is a respectable amount of time to wait for a new husband.
The story that I found to be the most bizarre in this collection is “Somebody’s Baby.” Linda has just given birth to a baby girl and as her husband drives her home from the hospital she sees a man on her lawn who is waiting to steal her baby. Linda does everything she can to protect her daughter, but the man sneaks in and takes the baby anyway. The entire neighbor and Linda’s husband tell her that this is normal and that the man takes at least one or two babies from every family and eventually she will have one that she can keep. When Linda’s second baby is also taken by the man, she decides that she will track the man down and get her children back. But the neighbors try to convince her that it is a bad idea and she should just try to have more children.
In the title story, “Man V. Nature,” three old friends are stranded in a boat on a lake when it has run out of gas. They jump into a lifeboat and abandon the main vessel when they think they spot land. As they are adrift on the plastic lifeboat for days they start to have conversations that reveal hidden secrets and desires. Will any of them make it to safety and be rescued?
If you want an interesting collection of short stories then I would definitely give MAN V. NATURE by Diane Cook at try. There stories are unique and will be like nothing else you have read.
About The Author:
Diane Cook’s fiction has been published or is forthcoming in Harper’s Magazine, Granta, Tin House, Zoetrope: All Story, Guernica, Salt Hill, and Redivider. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and on This American Life, where she worked as a radio producer for six years. She earned an MFA from Columbia University, where she was a Teaching fellow. She recently moved to Oakland, CA after a decade in Brooklyn.
Other Stops on the Tour: