Tuesday, July 31

Book Review: This Cake is for the Party

Title: This Cake is for the Party

Author: Sarah Selecky

Pages: 229

Summary: Sarah Selecky''s first book takes dead aim at a young generation of men and women who often set out with the best of intentions, only to have plans thwarted or hopes betrayed.

These are stories about friendships and relationships confused by unsettling tensions bubbling beneath the surface. A woman who plans to conceive ends up in the arms of her husband''s best friend; a man who baby-sits a neglected four-year-old ends up questioning his own dysfunctional relationship; a chance encounter at a gala event causes a woman to remember when she volunteered for a nightmarish drug-testing clinic; another woman discovers that her best friend who is about to get married has just had an affair; a young teenager tries to escape from her controlling father and finds an unexpected lover on a bus ride home; a wife tries to overcome her dying mother-in-law''s resistance to her marriage by revealing to her own strange aural stigmata; a friend tries to talk another friend out of dating her cheating ex-boyfriend; and a superstitious candle-maker confesses to a tempestuous relationship that implodes spectacularly.

Contents: 


Throwing Cotton 
Watching Atlas 
How Healthy Are You? 
Go-Manchura 
Standing Up for Janey 
Where Are You Coming From, Sweetheart? 
Prognosis 
Paul Farenbacher's Yard Sale 
This is How We Grow as Humans 
One Thousand Wax Buddhas

My Rating: 8.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: A great collection of short stories, which ranged from a variety events or issues that have a profound effect on the characters and their lives, or in some cases the lives of those around them. In fact the more I think back about the collection and what I got out of the short stories, the more I find myself enjoying them.

Standing Up for Janey and Paul Farenbacher's Yard Sale are three short stories that have stuck with me, even after I've finished them and moved on to the next short stories. They are probably some of my favourites too. Standing Up For Janey in particular has an almost haunting ending, and I would have liked to learn what happened next. Where Are You Coming From, Sweetheart?, is also worth noting, as while it seemed to move slowly, I found the ending to be a bit bittersweet.

This was also a collection where you can start to appreciate the individual characters. As they tend to stick with you after you've finished the story. I found that the author did an excellent job at creating complex, well rounded characters on top of some well done plot lines.

Overall, it was a great collection of short stories, well deserving of being a Giller finalist.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. It's a good collection to read if you enjoy short story collections. It's also perfect collection if you enjoy Alice Munro's work, and want to read something similar to her style. It may not be the best collection to read if you want to test out short story collections, but for the most part it's well worth reading.

What to read next: Runaway by Alice Munro, Light Lifting

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI, New Author Challenge, Short Story Challenge

4 comments:

  1. This is a collection that I wouldn't mind reading, as all of the stories sound very rich and emotion laden. Great review today, Jules. I think I might have to add this one to the list :)

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    1. They were very rich and emotion laden. I was surprised how much they did stick with you after I was finished. Thinking then over really helped with the overall reading experience. If you do pick this book, take it in slowly.

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  2. This collection sounds intriguing. I think I will add it to my library list. I haven't read anything by this author yet. Thanks for the review!
    ~barb

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    1. First time with the author my self. I hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to read it.

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