Monday, May 11, 2009

Review: The Simplest of Acts by Melanie Haney

Paperback: 102 pages
Publisher: (January 10, 2009)
ISBN-13: 9780557035908
Genre: Short Stories
Rating: 3.5/5

Melanie Haney's debut collection of short stories captures rare glimpses into the beauty and strangeness of ordinary life.

This collection includes her award winning stories, "The Simplest of Acts" and "Only in Bellington" among other carefully wrought tales of loss and love and the small - perhaps overlooked - moments of catharsis in our ordinary lives.

I've read a lot of short stories this year, and I've realized that it's a format I really enjoy. I have a lot of respect for authors that can make readers feel a connection with characters in such a short amount of pages.

Ms Haney's story collection is slim at 102 pages, but it packs an emotional punch in those pages. The stories range in length from about 2 pages to 18 pages. The 2 page story didn't really stick with me as it really wasn't enough time for the characters to make an impression, but my 2 favorite stories were 4 and 6 pages.

All of the stories deal with a loss of someone close to you. In some stories it's the loss of a parent, in others the loss of a child. The stories aren't depressing though. Instead they focus on the simple things that bring comfort in hard times.

A couple of my favorite stories were "An Ordinary Evening", "Sweltering" and "The Simplest of Acts". "An Ordinary Evening" is the story of a mother keeping vigil over her dying daughter in the hospital. "Sweltering" is the story of a cat who makes an appearance in a young couple's life and what he means to them. "The Simplest of Acts" is about losing your mother and the loss of all of the traditions that were uniquely hers. This collection of stories is an emotionally satisfying read, and some of the stories have really stuck with me. 3.5 stars
Other Reviews:


Toni said...

thanks for the review. I want to get into reading short stories. I tend to avoid them because I like to get comfy with a big ole fat book. But I have a feeling I would enjoy the format also.

Sandy Nawrot said...

This is a genre I need to get my arms around. Oh, but a book of short stories about losing things you love! I know you said it wasn't depressing, but my heart hurts just thinking about reading about all that loss!

Diane said...

I don't usually read short stories but I told Melanie Haney I would review Simplest Acts. I actually thought she did a great job; i rated it a 4/5. Here is my review:

Becca said...

This one is on my TBR list. I am glad to see you liked it.

I found your blog on Pudgy Penguin Perusals. Nice blog!

Cindy said...

cool review, it seems like an interesting book, something I would enjoy reading :)

Zibilee said...

I am trying to read more short story collections, and I think that this one sounds really interesting. Thanks for the great review!