Sunday, January 13, 2013

{Review} This Jealous Earth by Scott Dominic Carpenter

ISBN #: 978-1480172777
Page Count: 206
Copyright: October 23, 2012
Publisher: MG Press

Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

A man puts his beloved pets to the knife; a family prepares for the Rapture; a woman in a department store slips a necklace into her purse. Whatever the situation, the characters in This Jealous Earth find themselves faced with moments of decision that will forever alter the course of their lives.

Always moving and often touched with humor, Carpenter's stories examine the tension between the everyday and the transcendent - our struggle to grasp what lies beyond our reach. Whether hawking body parts in a Midwestern city, orbiting through the galleries of a Paris museum or plotting sibling tortures in an Arizona desert, his characters lead us through a series of dilemmas of universal appeal.

Kathy's Review:

I have a hard time writing reviews for short story collections. I try to consider each story on an individual basis, but also review the collection as a whole. In general, I feel the form makes it difficult to have any sort of deep connection. However, this collection of short stories has been the exception rather than the rule!

There's no doubt that the writing itself is excellent. This is a writer who is skilled at his craft. Some of the subject matter made me uncomfortable - ESPECIALLY the first story, "The Tender Knife." I almost had to skip it entirely because of the gruesome nature of what the main character had to do.

I'll make mention of a few that really struck a chord with me ... "Foundering" is one of the shortest in this collection, but clearly illustrates how quickly time moves while comparing a long-term relationship to a long voyage by sea. "Field Notes" recalls a family trip told from a child's perspective, observing the tension between his parents while gaining self-confidence as an explorer. I liked the humor of "Sincerely Yours," where a lonely man writes scathing correspondence to a billing collector, but looks forward to receiving the replies, hoping for a human connection.

Each has its own exceptional qualities but overall this is an outstanding and well written collection of short stories. I would enjoy seeing the author's other work.

*An ecopy of this book was provided by the publicist, MG Press, in exchange for an honest review.

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