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Wondrous beings and everyday monsters walk the pages of Orange Prize winner Valerie Martin's kaleidoscopic collection of stories
In this new volume of 12 stories written between 1982 and 2014, it is evident that while Martin may have honed her technique over the years, her consistent goal has been to go deeper and see more clearly. She has succeeded - all of the stories are striking; all of them bear a resemblance to one another, like large families, where the cousins don't necessarily get along, despite looking alike ... There aren't many prolific authors that we want more of, but Martin is one of them. Like all authors, she has her characteristic themes and methods, but since her main interest seems to be systematic investigation of the strange and the out-of-the-way, she always produces something unexpected and revelatory.
Martin's writing is a reward in itself, a wonderful precision-tool. She uses it to chisel at the human condition - and the effect is astonishing.
Martin's complex and wonderful stories, with their careful rendering and sober insights, offer their own kind of relief for the reader: this book is a long, cool drink of water
Martin writes with amplitude, precision, grace and wit
Macabre and riveting ... This immaculate collection spans Martin's career from the tight and serious ambition of her youth, through a wittier, more playful phase investigating creativity through stories about music and painting as well as writing ... If this exceptional American author (winner of the Orange Prize in 2003) has passed you by, you're in for a treat.
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