Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

War Stories by Elisabeth Doyle (Book Review)

Title: War Stories
Author: Elisabeth Doyle
Publisher:  Two Harbors Press

About the Book: We all carry our own battle scars. 

This is the premise of War Stories, a rich collection of short fiction that draws upon both the literal and figurative meaning of its title.  Through a diverse array of characters, settings, and circumstances, War Stories delivers a series of powerful tales from the home front of war: the stories of parents, siblings, and spouses of those who have fought, as well as those who have returned from battle.

Set against the backdrop of contemporary conflicts, War Stories’ compelling nine narratives tell of a wounded veteran who seeks renewal through an imagined relationship with a neighborhood girl, a grieving father who finds peace and reconciliation at the site of a disastrous bus crash, a young woman who searches for identity and meaning in the wake of her husband’s injury, and an urban teenager engaged in a fateful standoff with local recruiters. Interspersed with these tales are powerful, non-traditional “war stories” – of youth, unexpected loss, and heartbreaking love. 

War Stories’ thoughtful and beautifully crafted tales, which range in style from deceptively simple to rich and complex, tell of people young and old, male and female, who share two things: humanity and resilience. These diverse and deftly written stories are joined through Elisabeth Doyle’s remarkable style and ease in creating a universe full of despair, hope, and dreams. At turns tender and harsh, tragic and yearning, these stories will leave you wanting more.

My thoughts:  I am usually not a fan of short stories, but I couldn't put this little book down.  In each of these stories, there is something so real about the characters that you can't help but connect with them.  The initial impression, and as the title implies, is that these are going to be tragic stories, and yet in each of them, there is a glimmer that there is something more - something not yet seen just waiting to happen. The stories leave you with that impression, so while being tragic, they are also hopeful.  

I think the reason that I generally don't like short stories is that I can't get vested in them - the characters seem shallow to me - Not so with this book.  She does a great job of giving you enough information about the characters so that you feel you really know something about them, or how they were feeling in the sliver of their life that you are seeing.   The stories in this book are going to stay with me for a long time.  

~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tribute Books Blog Tours in exchange for my unbiased review.~

About the author: Elisabeth Doyle is a writer and attorney living in Washington, D.C. She studied fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and the University at Albany, and is completing a Masters of Laws Degree at Georgetown University Law Center.  Ms. Doyle’s short fiction was published in the literary journal Nadir and was awarded the University at Albany’s Lovenheim Prize for best short fiction. Her first short film, Hard Hearted One, was admitted into the Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema and the Street Films Film Festival, and was shown on Public Television and Manhattan Cable. War Stories is her first collection of short fiction.

You can find out more about War Stories and this blog tour at the following places:

War Stories
Publisher/Publication Date: Two Harbors Press, Aug 2012
ISBN: 978-1-937928-40-7
111 pages


Tribute Books said...

Kristi, glad this tiny book packed a punch for you. Thanks for helping to spread the word about Elisabeth's collection of short stories. We appreciate the review.

Tribute Books said...
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