Thursday, January 31, 2008

willing to make an exception

Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories by Connie Willis
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
Genre: collection
Challenge: A-Z (author)
Review: I'm not usually a big fan of short stories, but of course I'll read anything Connie Willis writes. Even the ones that have been published before are fun to read again. I was thrilled to see "Firewatch" included in this collection, and felt the ending as strongly this time as I did the first time I read it. Other stories, like "Blued Moon" and "At the Rialto" carry Willis' trademark corporate stupidity and mangled language, but others, like "A Letter from the Clearys" and "Nonstop to Portales" are so subtly written, it's both a joy (because you can finally see how well Willis works her craft) and a sorrow (because the story's over!). Some endings are a bit overdone (title-story "The Winds of Marble Arch", "The Last of the Winnebagos"). Others endings are a bit muddled ("The Curse of Kings", "Daisy, In the Sun", "Cash Crop"), but some endings ("All My Darling Daughters") are all too clear. The inclusion of such hilarious gems as "Even the Queen" and especially "The Soul Selects Her Own Society..." (pay attention to the footnotes!) more than make up for any flaws. Overall, the collection is a must-read for any Willis fans, and anyone else who just wants to read a broad collection of well-done stories.

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