by Marisa Silver
This was an easy book to read, but the stories aren’t easy.
After reading the first story yesterday while in the library, I planned to spend today reading the rest of the collection. There was something about the way Silver created relatable, if not terribly likable, characters and summed up moments of wisdom in a single line that grabbed my attention. (“…Vivian realized that she would always have to choose what to believe, and that chances were, more often than not she would be wrong.”)
This collection of eight short stories was an engrossing ‘it’s Sunday, it’s cold, and I don’t feel like going out’ read. I suppose some might describe her characters as cold, but I think it is more accurate to say that Silver shows us people who struggle with connection, are baffled by emotion, and surprised by the force of their own neediness.
Mother/daughter difficulties? Check. Relationships falling apart? Check. High drama? Well, here’s where it gets interesting: no, not really. The stakes are high (cancer, mental illness, pregnancy, infidelity, addiction) but they are also grounded in matter of factness, in the inescapability of pain being something you both inflict and feel, and live with.