Friday, October 12

Book Review: My Life Among the Apes

Title: My Life Among the Apes

Author: Cary Fagan

Pages: EBook - 133

Summary: A woman leaves her husband, a retired judge, when he refuses to give up his passion for performing as a magician ("The Floating Wife").

A young man exiled from the downtown arts scene finds himself living in the suburbs in a community of new immigrants ("Shit Box").

A widow moves to New York to confront the woman who was her late husband's mistress ("The Brooklyn Revenge").

A bank manager in a bad situation turns to his childhood obsession with Jane Goodall for inspiration ("My Life Among the Apes")

Contents:

The Floating Wife
Shitbox
I Find I'm Not Alone on the Island
Wolf
My Life Among the Apes
The Creech Sisters
The Brooklyn Revenge
Dreyfus in Wichita
Lost at Sea
The Little Underworld of Edison Wiese

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The last two stories in this collection saved the entire collection for me. Up until then it was an average collection, and I wasn't very impressed with it. But the last two stories in the collection ended up being fantastic, one of which will likely be one of my favourite individual short stories, I read all year.

One of the main factors I was originally struggling with the collection because I didn't like the first two short stories and had a hard time finishing them. I found they jumped around in the plot quite a lot. almost like a lot was edited out of them, to make them a short story. I felt at times they were missing the connectors from one paragraph to the next, and felt that story wasn't complete. Some of the other stories in the collection also had similar issues, where it just felt like pieces of the story were missing, but the first two where it was the most noticeable.

Fortunately, both Lost at Sea and The Little Underworld of Edison Wiese were spectacular stories. The ending of Lost at Sea, really added to the story, I disliked what a particular character did, but the end of it was surprising, and lovely at the same time. The Little Underworld of Edison Wiese, was by far probably one of my favourite individual short stories I've read all year. It was well written, well developed characters, and had a very interesting cast of characters as well and an overall fun story to read. The Brooklyn Revenge was also not a bad story, but the final two stories in the book steal the show away from the rest.

Although the collection started off slow, by the end it ended up being a decent read.

Would I recommend it to read: If you enjoy short stories I would. But it's not high on my list of recommend short story collections I'd recommended.

What to read next: The other Giller Longlisters

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI

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