I’ve recently read a few short story collections, a genre that I had never sought out or read (other than in high school and college English classes). I initially was drawn to I Knew You’d Be Lovely because I’ve recently come to appreciate the short story, and Alethea Black shares an old-fashioned name with one of my best friends, so this particular collection caught my eye.
The stories in this collection mostly center on some sort of family dynamic. In different stories, she explores the father-son relationship, estranged spouses, sisters, a new couple and more. She creates authentic voices for these varied characters, expressing the POV of a middle-aged man, a young teen girl or boy, or a single schoolmarm.
The stories are so different, but the tone is the same. One thing that lends additional depth to these stories is the omniscient narrator (often the character him/herself looking back as this particular vignette is shared). In several of the stories, a tidbit about what will be in the future is shared, which brought the story around full-circle to me, which left me feeling quite satisfied.
I’m not the kind of person to read well into the night (I do most of my reading during the day or the early evening), so for me, having this short story collection beside my bed was perfect for me. I could read a story — or even half of one if it had a good break as some did — and get a complete literary experience. For that reason, even though I was enjoying this collection so much, I didn’t take it out during the day, saving the stories to read in those moments.
Jennifer always enjoys a little family dysfunction in the pages.She blogs about her totally functional family at Snapshot.
Don’t on the whole read short stories, yet I loved O. Henry’s, particularly “The Gift of the Magi”. May need to give I Knew You’d Be Lovely a chance.
I felt the same way and was really surprised how much I enjoyed the two collections I’ve read recently.