Grappling with dramas both epic and personal, from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the “unspeakable misgivings of contentment,” Eveningland captures with crystalline poeticism and perfect authenticity of place the ways in which ordinary life astounds us with its complexity. A teenaged girl with a taste for violence holds a burglar hostage in her house on New Year’s Eve; a middle aged couple examines the intricacies of their marriage as they prepare to throw a party; and a real estate mogul in the throes of grief buys up all the property on an island only to be accused of madness by his daughters. These stories, told with economy and precision, infused with humor and pathos, excavate brilliantly the latent desires and motivations that drive life forward.
Eveningland is a luminous collection from “a writer of the first rank.”
My take: 2 looks
I really, really wanted to like this book. An entire book of short stories from my home state was so compelling that I downloaded it immediately. The first story was engaging and I was enjoying it … until the end. Then the second, third, fourth … I began to see a pattern. The stories proved to be compelling and drew me in, but the endings of almost all of the stories in this collection were so abrupt as to be disappointing. There was so much more to be investigated, more story to be told, additional nuances to be explored. To be left flat at the end of each story left me feeling that the author had reached his word quota and had to end the story suddenly.
This one is not recommended. However, if you are looking for an excellent book of short stories, I recommend “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu.
Many thanks to NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.