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I would love to write a long, thorough, detailed, and glowing review of every single one of the stories in this book, because it deserves that in ways that I'm probably not qualified to express properly despite really wanting to try - only, my 10-month-old son thinks that my computer is a competitor for my affection, that rightly belongs entirely to him, and he starts to fuss about five minutes after I sit down to do anything with the despised machine. This is problematic. When he naps, I try to write my daily warm-up pages and a bit of fiction. My goal is to write one short story a month until working conditions allow for more fiction to flow from my fingertips. This leaves little time for book reviews of high quality.

The five-minute book report, then, is that Waltzing the Cat is a collection of short stories about a character named Lucy O'Rourke, a photographer in her thirties who's emerging from the effects of a fracked-up childhood with alcoholic parents. There isn't a speck of science fiction or fantasy in this collection, but I love it more than I have ever loved any other set of stories in my life. That should say a lot, at least to those of you who've seen my bookshelves. I really can't recommend it highly enough in my alloted five minutes.

I'll write something about my very own life sometime, I swear it.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
blzblack
May. 17th, 2007 03:01 am (UTC)
So what exactly attracted to Houston's work? Can you isolate what it is that makes you think it worthwhile?
nayad
May. 17th, 2007 11:34 am (UTC)
Some of the things I liked about Houston's work included:

1. the style of her prose. It's clear, with evocative description and sentences that flow gracefully.

2. the way she transmits information, especially in character development. This is harder to describe, but great to experience. Many of the stories show the wretched state of Lucy's relationships without being entirely *about* the relationships. Houston shows Lucy doing things in her life, like traveling to various places, and incidentally demonstrates the behavior of various men Lucy is dating along the way. I love her pace of scattering in just enough new info to keep the reader fascinated and wondering what else will be revealed.

3. Lucy's development as a character, and the depth of her past. Houston makes it seem like she's chosen the important stories to be told about a real person, and that is impressive.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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