Monday, January 25, 2016
The Real Truth About The Unfinished World
1. The stories vary wildly in length and breadth but they are without a doubt magically wonderful. And by magical I don't mean robed wizards and wands. No, no. Her writing weaves in oddities, folklore, little bits of obscure (to me) history. In short, they sent me Googling over and over again.
2. All of the plots are fairly twisted and out there, but Sparks' writing really grounds them into something beautiful and touching, fun, surprising.
3. She's like Aimee Bender, but better.
This should give you a taste of what all that stuff up there really means. The stories themselves...you just have to know what some of them are about.
"The Men and Women Like Him": Cleaners, time travel professionals who pursue space pirates on their attempts to sanitize history. Sadly, letting the Holocaust happen is a must because if the space pirates managed to change all the bad stuff, we'd die from the complications. These are like the beat cops of time travel, and one of them is ready to go off the rails.
"The Cemetery for Lost Faces": Lonely siblings look for love and meaning in their respective crafts. She's a taxidermist, he's a sculptor, and together they live a quiet, detached life serving up tableaus to rich benefactors, until a deal goes wrong.
"The Unfinished World": A young boy survives a bear attack at the circus, but his brothers fear he came back from the brink not quite right. The boy himself feels as if he can never truly love because there's a drafty crevice where his heart should be. Furthermore, his family is in decline, he begins to lose those he loves, and ultimately his fate collides with a young girl whose own story rounds this one out. It's long, it's more involved than the others, and it's haunting.
It's killing me not to write about "The Fever Librarian," "Lizzie Borden Jazz Babies," "The Process of Human Decay." There may be some one-off short story reviews coming.
That's just a tongue taste of what Amber Sparks has to offer in this collection. Twisty, wackadoo stories are right up my street, and I didn't realize it, but she has another collection I'll be jumping into when I decide to buy books again: May We Shed These Human Bodies. I should probably also mention that this book is straight to paperback, so if you're like me and hate buying hardcovers for the bulk and the price tag, consider that a non-issue.
Finally, if you liked Mr. Splitfoot, READ THIS TOO! *Shoves it at you and runs away.
Liveright, January 25, 2015 (that's today!)
Source: Received from the publisher for review consideration.