Wednesday, May 23, 2012

This Will Be Difficult to Explain: And Other Stories by Johanna Skibsrud

I love to read short stories.  To me they are a lovely step between novels and poetry.  They tell little tidbits of stories with a whammy of message.  This book did not live up to my expectations.

The stories were varied yet connected.  A young American maid at a hotel in France meets a man who asks her to sit for a portrait, only to find out later he is not who she thinks he is.  A father lets his thirteen-year-old nearly estranged daughter take the wheel of his car, realizing too late that it was a bad decision. A Canadian girl and her French host stumble on the one story that transcends their language barrier.

All the stories were entertaining; however, the ‘whammies’ never came.  I felt like what the author was trying to say was so nebulous as to be out of my reach.  Sometimes when I feel that way I wonder if it’s just a matter of my being too obtuse or uneducated to understand, but the other review I read of this book backed me up.  It’s nice to know you’re not the only one that felt that way.  I also read that the author has had great success as a poet.  That lead me to think that maybe she didn’t realize that with prose one needs a bit more guiding to get the point. 

2 stars (Rated PG for adult situations)

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