Jung's People by Kay Green

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Jung's People by Kay Green

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Category: Short Stories
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Trish Simpson-Davis
Reviewed by Trish Simpson-Davis
Summary: Short stories which offer fantasy, sci-fi, historical and contemporary angles on human personality. There are surprising twists and multiple layers and the stories provide food for thought.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 160 Date: October 2007
Publisher: Earlyworks Press
ISBN: 978-1906451011

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These short stories offer fantasy, sci-fi, historical and contemporary angles on human personality. Kay Green used Jung's writing on dreams to delve into her own subconscious and has come up with an eclectic mix of stories. A crisp commentator's voice observes life through different lenses and perspectives. I often felt that I was trapped in a nest of boxes with the characters, not quite sure which way was out. My interest hooked, I delved into the fifteen stories and enjoyed their surprising twists and multiple layers as characters discover their tragic destiny within whatever happens to be the chance setting of their lives. I'll just give you a flavour of three of them.

In the first story, Marcus uses an imaginary friend, Mokey, to protect himself from further emotional damage after a present-day car accident. In order to recover, Marcus has to relinquish one reality and accept another, that he is growing up. His sister, Jess, orchestrates a ritual to help him. Unusually, Mokey is viewpoint character, villain and victim. Or is it Marcus? It's a perceptive lens with which to explore reality for a brain-damaged child.

The author pursues the nature/nurture debate back to its origins in the Garden of Eden. In Newman's Bible, Adam and Eve have already assumed typical gendered roles and are on course to creating the first dysfunctional family. Apart from the setting, the family could be playing out their destiny in any house in the land. Eve is a motherly, accepting woman with a glint in her eye. Adam, a God figure, is obsessed with his creativity. But in today's world, even great Biblical tales are abbreviated to five terse pages. We then discover that the story exists simultaneously on another, symbolic layer because Newman, the writer is working only just ahead of the reader.

Another favourite was The Eye of the Beholder, in which a young woman who poses nude for an art class ponders love, lust and sex appeal when she couples with an unlikely student. On the surface this is a story conventional enough to find its way into a women's magazine, but lift the veneer and it's a much more disturbing reflection on who we are and why we behave so illogically.

I like an aftertaste to my fiction, and there's plenty of food for thought in these stories. Are the characters products of their own time and space, like the chilling Glorious Peace, son of a war-mongering King? Or does a character's fatal flaw ensure his or her end, however hard the author wiggles the plot to avoid a Greek tragedy, as in Butterfly Wings? I hope you enjoy sampling Kay Green's imagination as much as I did.

If you're looking for other collections of short stories we can also recommend Beethoven Was One-Sixteenth Black by Nadine Gordimer and The People on Privilege Hill by Jane Gardam.

Buy Jung's People by Kay Green at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Jung's People by Kay Green at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Jung's People by Kay Green at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Jung's People by Kay Green at Amazon.com.

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