Friday 22 April 2022

Short Story Review: Half Light by Tayari Jones

Half Light Half Light by Tayari Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Short story about twins Amelia and Camelia Hall who have identical faces but look nothing like each other in all other respects. They are on a mission to retrieve a portrait of their mother painted by Jacques Toussaint. While still in ‘till death do us part’ mode dermatologist Amelia had given the portrait, originally given to her by her mother, to her musician husband in return for one of his songs written on paper. He ended up with it after their divorce where Camelia had acted as Amelia’s attorney. This retrieval is of course illegal and we all know that the best plans go wrong in this case when they meet the much younger, cake baker, Melanie in the ex’s kitchen
This is the second short story I have read by Tayari Jones, the trouble is I’m just not normally interested in the domesticity of family lives that she writes about but I have to say this one held me so much more that my previous read, Dispossession. Once again this was a free Audible Original and I’m glad I listened to this one.

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Short Story Review: Dispossession by Tayari Jones

Dispossession by Tayari Jones

My Rating 2*

Mothers and sons, the American dream soured, families split, daily life struggles, low paid work, evictions. All mirroring the narrator’s own past. Not really my sort of
but if you like Tayari Jones then this free Audible Original production of her short story may be for you.

Thursday 21 April 2022

Short Story Review: The Didomenico Fragment by Amor Towles

The Didomenico Fragment The Didomenico Fragment by Amor Towles
My rating: 4 *

Percival Skinner has financial troubles as regards his retirement planning. He is an art assessor and is approached by dealer, Sarkis, looking for a certain painting by the Renaissance master Giuseppe Didomenico. It happens to have been owned by his ancestor who divided up the painting giving a piece to each of his children. Over the generations these children carried on the tradition until the inheritance was reduced to a fragment. Most had been sold, except the one owned by his young nephew Peter, his wife Sharon and their son 10 year old Lucas. Skinner is offered a 10% finders fee if he could arrange for its sale which could secure his future retirement. And so he hatches a plan to get his hands on the fragment, but of course things do not go actually as he planned.
It is classic Towles - great characters, well constructed story which he packs so much.
The Audible recording of this short story is narrated by actor John Lithgow. He does it marvellously. If you want a way to pass a very entertaining hour I can highly recommend this one.

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Monday 18 April 2022

Book Review: The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

The Lincoln Highway The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third piece by Towles that I have read, they are all different, they are all well written. In Lincoln Highway the storyline itself is quite thin but it is a storyline packed with tales, a story made up of stories. I loved the way Towles used the device of Prof Abernathy’s Compendium to give voice to Billy, to explore the characters, and to scaffold the whole storyline. So how does one end such a necklace of stories, why with a clasp of course. A completion of the circle with all the characters in their correct places. 

Correction, this was actually the 4th piece by Towles I have read, how could I have forgotten his short story The Line.

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