Monday, December 29, 2014
First off, I love the title of this book, The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons and I was also intrigued by the beautiful cover. Inside the book you will find 15 short stories that vary in length from one page to a short novella in length Each story is beautifully written and imagined.
How you read a short story collection varies from book to book and person to person. When I started reading The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons, I read one story, then another and then a third. Quickly I realized that I wanted to savor these stories so I could have time to think about them and swallow their meaning. So I switched my reading pattern. I read one story in the morning, usually a short one (1-2 pages) and one story at night, usually a longer story. This worked splendidly and I fell in love with this book and these stories.
Heather is a wonderful writer and she mesmerizes the reader with her beautiful imagery and prose. Each story is unique and unpredictable and they leave the reader hungry for life and love and for more stories. Many of the stories are grounded in reality and characters must face loss, grief or regret but some of the stories take you into a sphere you may not recognize, hidden somewhere in a different mental state or space where heartbreak lives. Each story is addictive like food and wine.
It is hard to pick a favorite story out of this collection because each story is so good. My favorite has to be Iris and the Inevitable Sorrow, or The Knock at the Door because it is so creative. Although Neighbors is also amazing with a little bit of creepy thrown in. And then there is the last story, Before the Story Ends, which is heartbreakingly beautiful.
The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons won the Iowa Short Fiction Prize and was published by the University of Iowa press. Heather joins an impressive list of short story writers and she is very deserving of this prize. I read seven different short story collections in 2014 and The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons is definitely my favorite.