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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Review and Giveaway: The Simplest of Acts and Other Stories

Author: Melanie Haney
Genre: Short stories, fiction
Trade paperback, 102 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0-557-03590-8

From the back cover:

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

This collection includes er 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.

My Thoughts:

There are 11 short stories in this book, and each one of them pulls the reader in immediately. Haney's writing is exquisite. Her choice of words is superb and succinct. I immediately knew how the characters felt about their situations. From the girl who wants out of her small town, to the mother and daughter who are trying to make ends meet, the reader knows what the situation is all about and can sympathize.

With regards to the situations, these are events that you have either experienced yourself, or know someone who has. The feeling of loss or sadness is apparent. But you know these characters will be alright. They will get through their situations one way or the other, because that is what people do . They survive. They do what is necessary and sometimes connect with others along the way.

Connectedness....that is exactly what I felt when I read this book. I immediately connected with these characters, and that is due to Haney's beautiful writing. I don't usually read short stories because I feel they are too short and don't allow me time to get to know the characters. Short stories are over before they begin. Not true with this book. After a few short paragraphs, I was drawn into each story, hook, line and sinker. These stories had an emotional effect on me. Haney knows her craft well.

I liked all of these stories, but my favorites were "Only in Bellington", "Shoes, Falling", "Going", and "The Simplest of Acts". I guess because I could relate to these stories the best. Every story grabbed me. This book could easily be read in a day, but I prolonged it, because I liked it so much.

My Rating: 5/5

I highly recommend this short story collection. I haven't read something this moving in a long time.

I would like to share my love and enjoyment of this book with someone else. I am giving away my gently read copy to one lucky winner.
If you are interested, please leave me a comment saying so with your email address. Deadline is midnight, EST, Saturday, May 23.
This is an international contest, so no restrictions.
On Wednesday, the 20th, I'll be posting a short interview with Melanie Haney. (My first!) So please stop back if you can.


Amy said...

This does sound like a really great read. I'd love a chance to read your gently read copy. As you may know I'm trying to read more short fiction and only want to attempt stuff that's recommended.

Teri said...

I would love to read this book! Please consider me a candidate for your giveaway.

Unknown said...

I am interested in winning this! It sounds like a great book, I just adore short stories. :D

Llehn said...

I would be interested in reading this book. Please enter me into your giveaway. Thanks.


Gaby317 said...

This sounds great. pls count me in!


gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

Unknown said...

I always have enjoyed reading short stories, and I haven't actually read any in awhile so this would be great for me. Please enter me Thanks!

teabird said...

Great interview - so of course, I'd love to read the book!

teabird 17 AT yahoo dot com

Lydia said...

I really enjoyed your interview with Melanie and would love to be considered for the giveaway. Thanks!

LPaige AT mail DOT org

Krista said...

I'd love to win a copy! Mella is a wonderful writer.

kayzed AT gmail DOT com

Unknown said...

Great review!

wiedbrauk AT gmail dotcom

babygirlG said...

I would love to read this book!


Belinda M said...

I would love to read this. Please enter me in your giveaway

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