No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Saturday, April 30, 2005

#35: Jigs and Reels -- Joanne Harris

This is a collection of Harris' short stories, some published and some not. I have to say that I doubt this anthology would exist were it not for the author's reputation, built on her best-selling novels. Few of the stories stand out, and there's a sameness to them. This is fantasy-lite, J K Rowling for Daily Mail readers: there's a conservative Little England feel to many of them. Where Harris is writing for a particular magazine (two of the stories appeared in Woman and Home, this is understandable. And it's not that she isn't adventurous. There's an interesting, if slight, SF story (undermined by her reference in the introduction to a character of hers who writes 'second-rate sci fi'), and some well-crafted vignettes. Actually, quite a few of the stories are first-person narratives, with little interaction; quite a few of them are Humorous; and quite a few of them have a Twist.

I've been reading the stories one at a time, over dinner, for the last couple of weeks: my rather negative view may simply be due to the fact that I overdosed on them last night, reading half a dozen as punctuation in an evening spent ticking off tasks from the to-do list. I'm being too harsh, really, because the stories are perfectly competent and aren't pretending to be anything they're not. But I much prefer Harris's writing at novel-length, when she has free rein to play with language and images and plot.

reposted here from LJ in order to keep all my reviews in one place

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