Monday, 19 January 2015
Sweet Home by Carys Bray
This book first came our way nearly two years ago, but short story collections usually end up with The Mole so he reviewed it then and it was only after reading the author's debut novel A Song For Issy Bradley that I thought of reading it for myself. What a delight I'd missed!
These stories all relate in one way or another to home and family, but none really live up to the expected idyll of "Home, Sweet Home"; rather they explore the stresses and strains of everyday life, and the gap between expectations and reality. Even if they've never been in precisely the same circumstances, parents will find much to relate to here - the tiresomeness of following the 'rules' of good motherhood, a father's fears of accidentally hurting his fragile baby, another's desperate attempts to save his drug-addict son, or the understanding that comes too late of why parents' behaviour can seem so mean to a child. I hope I'm not making this sound like a collection filled with doom and gloom - it's far from that; laughter bubbles through, sometimes, especially from children, in the most inappropriate of moments.
There are also new twists on the Gingerbread House from Hansel and Gretel, and the Russian folk tale Snegurochka, the Snow Maiden, and a wry look at what you might actually purchase in the supermarket's 'baby aisle'.
I think it's fair to say I loved each and every story in its own way, and, with a blend of the literary and accessible, Carys Bray is fast growing into one of my favourite authors, for short or longer fiction.
Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Salt Publishing
Genre - Adult literary fiction, short stories