Collected Stories by Janice Galloway

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Collected Stories by Janice Galloway

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Category: Short Stories
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Amy Taylor
Reviewed by Amy Taylor
Summary: A collection of passionate stories that will make you squirm in your seat with their honesty. They touch on women and girls as they struggle with their emotions in life and relationships.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: September 2009
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 978-0099540397

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In this collection, stories are taken from two previous volumes, Blood and Where You Find It. The forty-two snap shots of life are mainly of women and young girls, struggling with emotions, sometimes realized and sometimes not. In all, there seems to be an underlying link of isolation and truth. The settings are varied, from a visit to the dentist to the place known as home, to a walk in the evening. We have a peek into the deepest darkest corners of everyday relationships, with lovers, partners and most of all ourselves.

This is a very honest, passionate book. I loved it. I was hooked from the word go. The first story titled Blood, which is also the title of the first volume of short stories, is one of my favourites, though I have many. It comprises of a girl having a tooth out at the dentist and then going back to school. The picture is colourfully painted with simple, sharp prose that uses all the senses. The beginning doesn't tell you much about the situation but lets you find it out for yourself. The ending leaves it hanging and exposed, a theme that runs through many of the stories.

They are clever and carefully crafted pieces of writing. The style in each is different, though still gives off the same feel – a raw invasion. Although mainly prose, the author experiments with many genres - one being scriptwriting. Directions are thought out and scenes are set up on the stage of life. The actors perform, saying their lines and then the lights go down. Others are written in a poetic approach with sentences and words scattered across a page. She plays around with capital letters, italics, spacing and grammar (or lack of it). Points of view change from story to story, sometimes in third person and other times in first. The length can vary from a page or two while others stretch longer. In some the characters are given names, in others they are not, but that doesn't matter. All in all, it leaves it open for you to work it out.

Saying all this, it is not a hard read, slow and reflective yes, but not difficult. It is thought provoking and occasionally cringe worthy. At times it gave me shivers down my spine. They are stories you will have to, and want to, read again, spotting something new every time. I fell in love with this book, so much so that for once I agree with everything that is said on the back cover. All praise. It is a great introduction for anyone new to the author, including me who hasn't read anything by her before. I've decided I'm going to read the whole thing again and also go out and buy some more books by her to drool over.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

For some more stories that will leave you with a shudder, that of a creepy one, there is The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson. Or, in keeping with the Scottish author theme why not try Agnes Owens: The Complete Novellas, which, although older, still deals with life and its relationships.

Booklists.jpg Collected Stories by Janice Galloway is in the Bookbag's Christmas Gift Recommendations 2009.

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Buy Collected Stories by Janice Galloway at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Collected Stories by Janice Galloway at


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