Reading is Fundamental

I spent last week with the rest of Karen Joy Fowler’s new collection What I Didn’t See and Other Stories.
[Edited to add: My Working Writer’s Daily Planner says it’s KJF’s birthday today–Happy Birthday!!]

“Familiar Birds.”  It’s funny how I keep coming across these “Back when I was a kid” stories lately.  I liked this one even better than I liked Mark Rigney’s “Portfolio” from LCRW 22.  5 out of 5.

“Private Grave 9.”  A detailed account of a character’s slow almost(?)-descent into… something.  5 out of 5.

“The Marianas Islands.”  It had my favorite passage in the book so far, and one of the more interesting main characters.  The ending was a little too abrupt for me.  4 out of 5.

“Once when I was four or five I asked my grandmother to tell me a secret, some secret things only grown-ups knew.  She thought a moment, then leaned down close to me and whispered.  ‘There are no grown-ups,’ she said.”

“Halfway People.”  Probably has my second-favorite line in the collection, but I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite story overall.  5 out of 5.

“But a story never told is also a danger, particularly to the people in it.”

“Standing Room Only.”  One story with John Wilkes Booth, dancing around his most infamous performance in the Ford Theater?  Okay.  Two?  I don’t know. 3 out of 5.

“What I Didn’t See.”  Loved the ending, but it just took a little too long to get there for me.  3.5 out of 5.

King Rat.”  This was in the Trampoline anthology, but I hadn’t gotten that far yet.  A nicely solemn riff on the Pied Piper story.  5 out of 5.

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