Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Emma Straub's book of stories perfect for those OK with not perfectly happy endings

I've seen Emma Straub's new book LAURA LAMONT'S LIFE IN PICTURES on just about everybody's to-read list, including this one. It's probably one I will pick up eventually, as I do like the way she writes, her tone, and the atmosphere she creates.

I just finished Straub's debut, the book of short stories OTHER PEOPLE WE MARRIED (Riverhead Books, February 2012, $15, 224 pp.), and enjoyed the realistic, rarely-a-happy-ending tales.

I'm not sure what it says about me, but I like stories, novels, films, etc. that have kind of quirky, not always pleasing, but often what I feel are realistic endings.

For instance, the story "Fly-Over Stage" is about a young couple who move to Wisconsin from New York City and the disconnectedness the wife, Sophie, feels there. She befriends the odd grown son of the neighbors next door, who lives in the basement and watches a lot of porn, and seems to relate more to him than to her own husband. She's hilarious, sad, bored and conflicted all at once.

EMMA STRAUB (image pilfered
from her website)
The stories are well-written and worth reading, though for me they didn't inspire the use of the word "love" when describing the book.

My generous, book-devouring sister mailed the book to me (thank you, Jennifer!) when she was through with it, in addition to the latest Anne Tyler novel, THE BEGINNER'S GOODBYE, which I'm likely to pick up next. I've been hooked on Tyler since enjoying THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST (I also love the movie, with Geena Davis, William Hurt, and Kathleen Turner.)

I'm embarrassed to say it took me forever to finish even a book of stories ... haven't been much of a reader lately. But the pile of review copies on my desk (and the pile of used book-sale finds on my nightstand) says I will be again soon.

Learn more about the talented Emma Straub on her website.

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