Saturday, August 31
Book Review: The Kissing Man
Author: George Elliott
Summary: A real and recognizable rural word is the setting of these other worldly fables. The stories can be taken at their face value; and strange nostalgic comforting meanings can be read into them. The events seem to have happened in a township in Western Ontario a generation or two ago and the take place against a backdrop of undeniable substance. The handle factory, the Anglican cemetery, and the barber shop. But the experiences of the people are more conscious level than such a background might suggest. The Kissing Man is filled with pity for loneliness, and he brings small moments of solace to hopeless women. In a different way, the man who lived out loud led the same kind of life, with the same quick understanding of submerged problems, but he didn't last very long, and soon he lost the fight and died. The grinder man, the twins, the man who sat by the mill-pond, the doctor - all inhabitants of the township have an urgent existence, and they are all somehow necessary to each other.
An Act of Pity
When Jacob Fletcher was a Boy
You'll Get the Rest of Him Soon
A Room, a Light for Love
The Kissing Man
A Leaf for Everything Good
The Man Who Lived Out Loud
What Do the Children Mean?
The Way Back
My Rating: 7.5/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: This was an interesting collection of short stories, many of which I read a couple of time to get the full feel of the story and the heart of what the author was trying to say to the reader. Even now I think I could re-read the entire collection and still not comprehend all the hidden meaning to these individual stories.
I'm not sure if the author intended to create a very profound collection of stories, or if they are to be taken for their face value, either way these stories are ones to be savoured and slowly devoured. The writing style is somewhat simple, but it does have a nice flow to it and in all of the stories, the author captures the small Southwestern Ontario town (most likely London, or London area) very well. He made the setting picturesque, without having to go into pages of descriptions. He kept it simple, but was able create an excellent setting and atmosphere for the book.
I'm not sure if I have a favourite short story, but I don't have one that that I disliked, they all have elements to them that I liked and disliked. The Man Who Lived Out Loud, was an interesting story and I think the character he created was captured nicely. But I think I can say that for all the stories, they all had little moments and morals that the author managed to capture quite well, but for many of them I re-read, to pull out what the message the author was trying to tell the reader.
In the end, it was a good read and it was one of those I was happy to have found.
Would I recommend it to read: I would, if you can find it, this was a gem of a read. Some stories will have to be re-read, but it was a great read and a lot of fans of short fiction would enjoy this one.
What to read next: The author reminded me a lot of David Adams Richards style of writing, so I'd suggest him.
Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, New Author Challenge