The Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff
|The Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff|
|Category: Short Stories|
|Reviewer: Kate Jones|
|Summary: A sharp, original, fresh take on the modern short story; Rebecca Schiff's collection is as humorous as it is moving.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 169||Date: June 2016|
|Publisher: J M Originals|
Rebecca Schiff's collection of short stories was a revelation. It has everything I want from a collection: humour, (often of the black variety), heartbreaking sadness, and moments of shocking clarity. These stories feel like the revealing of the inner workings of a young American woman's psyche. In fact, in the last short piece, entitled Write What You Know, it feels that the narrator/author is telling us the experiences which have led to this collection. I only know about parent death and sluttiness, she tells us. She goes on to talk about her knowledge of Jewish people who are assimilated, liberal and sexual guilt, and I think it is no exaggeration to say that these are the underlying themes to practically all of the stories here.
The recurring theme of death of a father, and the surrounding guilt and emotional aspects of the days of sickness leading up to the death, recur in stories such as the originally entitled: 'http://www.msjiz/boxx374/mpeg', and 'Another Cake', which details a lapsed Jewish father's funeral, with supporting cast members of aunts bringing food. There are elements of discomfort in some of the stories, for example 'Lucky Lady', which explores the phenomena of blogs and crowd-funding to support cancer treatments, with a male cancer patient constantly taking 'selfies' to upload in return for support from his band of 'followers', as well as 'World Trade Date', which features a young Brooklynite dating men who worked in the Twin Towers at the time of 9/11. Schiff proves herself to be a brave young writer, never shying away from shocking or difficult topics and ideas.
'Rate Me' was a disturbing story which featured an ironic look at the modern notion of being 'rated' for certain body parts, and the seemingly insatiable need for improvement. Some of the stories are a few pages long, whereas there are several micro-style fictions, including 'Keep an Eye on it', at only one paragraph long, and the title story, 'The Bed Moved', a fast-paced story of casual sex. This format works perfectly together.
Schiff has a fresh, ironic writing style, shot through with humour and realism and a dose of sadness. The narrator exudes a warmth I couldn't help responding to, and stories such as 'It Doesn't Have To Be A Big Deal', had me laughing out loud, when a young woman takes a chance on a casual relationship with a pot grower, visiting a 'clothing optional' resort together.
Schiff's book explores and examines the world as it is now, warts and all, and I can't recommend it highly enough. I could write about how much I loved every single story in there, but then there would be nothing left for you to discover for yourselves – and that would be a shame.
If you liked this, you might like This Should be Written in the Present Tense by Helle Helle and Martin Aitken (translator).
You can read more book reviews or buy The Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff at Amazon.com.
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