23 December 2008

Book Review: Foreign Brides by Elena Lappin

I suppose a snowstorm gives one an excuse to simply bundle up and grab a book to read. Maybe this was my quickest read, taking me just two days to finish.

Or, maybe, the fact that it was only about 200 pages long and had rather thick margins also contributed to the fact that it only took me a few sittings to finish this book.

Anyway, this is not a novel. This is a collection of short stories. Now, I have shied away from short stories for one reason: I want a bigger picture, not just a snapshot. When was the last time I read a short story collection? Maybe it was back in high school, when I read James Joyce's Dubliners? Sadly, I hadn't been categorizing my book review posts until recently, so I can't go back and scan my previous reads.

Anyway, back to the current book. As can be gleaned from the title, this is a collection of short stories that deal with international relationships. The pairs come from all over Europe and the Americas. It can be an Israeli woman and a British man, a Russian woman and a German man, et cetera. The stories are captivating, and could sustain interest of the reader for the 15-20 pages that each story occupies. Each has its own mini-conclusion, and aside from the first and last story, no two stories are related to each other. It is like an adult version of a bedtime story, each story is worth one night of reading.

However, given my taste for novels, I find it hard to interact with the book. I suppose I wanted a bigger picture, and the only big picture I can see with this one is that everyone rode a plane to be with their mates. Nothing significantly bigger. The moment I could picture a story happening, it would end abruptly with a sometimes smart kick in the end. It takes a few pages to appreciate a story, but once those few pages are read and the story is appreciated, it suddenly ends and the next story begins. Maybe this is the reason why I do not pick up short stories to read more often.

But still, this collection is a cute one, if I would pick an adjective to describe it. It is very appropriate for the times we live in, given that the world we live in goes smaller and smaller. I would recommend this one if you are interested.

See my other book reviews here.

(Guarded Unknown Soldier, from my Arlington Cemetery Series)

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